Intermediate water masses, a major supplier of oxygen for the eastern tropical Pacific ocean.

Duteil, Olaf , Frenger, Ivy and Getzlaff, Julia (Submitted) Intermediate water masses, a major supplier of oxygen for the eastern tropical Pacific ocean. Open Access Ocean Science . DOI 10.5194/os-2020-17.

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It is well known that Intermediate Water Masses (IWM) are sinking in high latitudes and ventilate the lower thermocline (500–1500 m depth). We here highlight how the IWM oxygen content and the IWM pathway along the Equatorial Intermediate Current System (EICS) towards the eastern tropical Pacific ocean are essential for the supply of oxygen to the lower thermocline and the Oxygen Minimum Zones (OMZs). To this end, we assess here a heterogeneous subset of ocean models characterized by a horizontal resolution ranging from 0.1° to 2.8°. Subtropical oxygen levels in the lower thermocline, i.e., IWM are statistically correlated with tropical oxygen levels and OMZs. Sensitivity simulations suggest that the oxygen biases of the subtropical IWM oxygen levels contribute to oxygen biases of the tropical thermocline as an increase of the IWM oxygen by 60 mmol m−3 results in a 10 mmol m−3 increase in the tropical ocean in a timescale of 50 years. In the equatorial regions, the IWM recirculates into the Equatorial Intermediate Current System (EICS). By comparing tracer and particle release simulations, we show that a developed EICS increases eastern tropical ventilation by 30 %. Typical climate models lack in representing crucial aspects of this supply: biases in IWM properties are prominent across climate models and the EICS is basically absent in models with typical resolutions of ~ 1°. We emphasize that these biases need to be reduced in global climate models to allow reliable projections of OMZs in a changing climate.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > SFB 754
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.5194/os-2020-17
ISSN: 1812-0784
Related URLs:
Projects: SFB754
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 08:58
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2021 07:54

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