Deep water flow in the Mariana and Caroline Basins.

Siedler, Gerold, Holfort, J., Zenk, Walter, Müller, Thomas J. and Csernok, Tiberiu (2004) Deep water flow in the Mariana and Caroline Basins. Open Access Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34 (3). pp. 566-581. DOI 10.1175/2511.1.

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Two major water masses dominate the deep layers in the Mariana and Caroline Basins: the Lower Circumpolar Water (LCPW), arriving from the Southern Ocean along the slopes north of the Marshall Islands, and the North Pacific Deep Water (NPDW) reaching the region from the northeastern Pacific Ocean. Hydrographic and moored observations and multibeam echosounding were performed in the East Mariana and the East Caroline Basins to detail watermass distributions and flow paths in the area. The LCPW enters the East Mariana Basin from the east. At about 13°N, however, in the southern part of the basin, a part of this water mass arrives in a southward western boundary flow along the Izu–Ogasawara–Mariana Ridge. Both hydrographic observations and moored current measurements lead to the conclusion that this water not only continues westward to the West Mariana Basin as suggested before, but also provides bottom water to the East Caroline Basin. The critical throughflow regions were identified by multibeam echosounding at the Yap Mariana Junction between the East and West Mariana Basins and at the Caroline Ridge between the East Mariana and East Caroline Basins. The throughflow is steady between the East and West Mariana Basins, whereas more variability is found at the Caroline Ridge. At both locations, throughflow fluctuations are correlated with watermass property variations suggesting layer-thickness changes. The total transport to the two neighboring basins is only about 1 Sverdrup (1Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) but has considerable impact on the watermass structure in these basins. Estimates are given for the diapycnal mixing that is required to balance the inflow into the East Caroline Basin. Farther above in the water column, the high-silica tongue of NPDW extends from the east to the far southwestern corner of the East Mariana Basin, with transports being mostly southward across the basin.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Physical Oceanography; Mariana Basin; Caroline Basin
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1175/2511.1
ISSN: 0022-3670
Projects: TROPAC
Date Deposited: 07 Apr 2009 14:40
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2018 09:47

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