Seasonal variability in the Deep Western Boundary Current around the eastern tip of Brazil.

Rhein, Monika and Stramma, Lothar (2005) Seasonal variability in the Deep Western Boundary Current around the eastern tip of Brazil. Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 52 . pp. 1414-1428. DOI 10.1016/j.dsr.2005.03.004.

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The spreading of recently ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) from the formation region to the equatorial Atlantic occurs mainly in the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC). When crossing the equator between 44°W and 35°W, the DWBC is split in two velocity cores through a chain of seamounts around the Atoll das Rocas at 3.5°S. Further eastward the DWBC contributes to the zonally oriented equatorial current system. The circulation of the NADW in the crucial region around the eastern tip of Brazil is examined using 8 CTD and Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) sections along 35°W and along 5°S, respectively, taken mainly in spring and fall in the years 1990–2002. As expected from the short direct flow path between the two sections, the CFC concentrations in the upper NADW (1400–2200 m) were similar at 35°W and 5°S during boreal autumn. In spring, however, a significant downstream CFC decrease was observed. If one attributes the decrease solely to the older age of water further downstream, the CFC concentration age difference between 35°W and 5°S in May 2002 would be 3–5 years. We interpret the aging to be caused by an eastward detour of the flow with the deep equatorial circulation before reaching 5°S in spring. Another conspicuous anomaly was found in the middle NADW (2200–3400 m) with downstream decreasing salinities in boreal spring, but not in autumn. This variability might also be caused by differences in the deep equatorial circulation, but in contrast to the uNADW, one cannot exclude enhanced mixing with water of South Atlantic origin in spring to be the cause of that variability. No seasonal difference was observed in the hydrography or the CFC concentrations for the lower NADW. The weaker CFC decrease along the equator compared with that in the DWBC downstream of 35°W, and the topographic features along the downstream path, point to a predominantly eastward flow of the deep lNADW core. The lNADW CFC core is no longer observed at 11°S. Repeated observations of CFCs in the DWBC highlight the diverse variability affecting the components of NADW.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: seasonal fluctuations, Deep Western Boundary Current, Brazil; Circulation; Deep ocean; Variability; CFCs; Tropical Atlantic
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.dsr.2005.03.004
ISSN: 0967-0645
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 05 Aug 2020 09:06

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