Bottom water export from the western Ross Sea, 2007 through 2010

Gordon, Arnold L.; Huber, Bruce A.; Busecke, Julius J. M.

Bottom water export from the Ross Sea, February 2007 to January 2011, exhibits seasonal and interannual variability. Temperature minima coupled to salinity maxima in late austral summer, into the fall, indicate input from High-Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW). Secondary temperature minima lacking the high-salinity trait, characteristic of Low-Salinity Shelf Water (LSSW), appear in the spring. Warmer bottom water similar to modified Circumpolar Deep Water (mCDW) is observed in winter and in early summer. The LSSW and mCDW may be drawn from the Drygalski Basin, as the HSSW pool retreats poleward from the shelf break in response to increased winter polar easterlies allowing these less dense overlying waters to spill into the deep ocean within the benthic layer. Bottom salinity decreased from 2007 to 2011 by 0.007 year−1 significantly higher than regional decadal trends, which we propose is a result of HSSW retreat induced by strengthening polar easterlies.

Geographic Areas


Also Published In

Geophysical Research Letters

More About This Work