Submesoscale flows impact Agulhas leakage in ocean simulations.

Schubert, René , Gula, Jonathan and Biastoch, Arne (2021) Submesoscale flows impact Agulhas leakage in ocean simulations. Open Access Communications Earth & Environment, 2 (1). Art.Nr. 197. DOI 10.1038/s43247-021-00271-y.

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Agulhas leakage, the warm and salty inflow of Indian Ocean water into the Atlantic Ocean, is of importance for the climate-relevant Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. South of Africa, the eastward turning Agulhas Current sheds Agulhas rings, cyclones and filaments of order 100 km that carry the Indian Ocean water into the Cape Basin and further into the Atlantic. Here, we show that the resolution of submesoscale flows of order 10 km in an ocean model leads to 40 % more Agulhas leakage and more realistic Cape Basin water-masses compared to a parallel non-submesoscale resolving simulation. Moreover, we show that submesoscale flows strengthen shear-edge eddies and in consequence lee cyclones at the northern edge of the Agulhas Current, as well as the leakage pathway in the region of the filaments that takes place outside of mesoscale eddies. This indicates that the increase in leakage can be attributed to stronger Agulhas filaments, when submesoscale flows are resolved.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Climate and Earth system modelling; Physical oceanography; Agulhas leakage
Research affiliation: IFREMER
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-OD Ocean Dynamics
Main POF Topic: PT2: Ocean and Cryosphere
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
Publisher: Nature Research
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2021 09:16
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2023 09:24

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