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Lagrangian pathways of upwelling in the Southern Ocean

Viglione, Giuliana A. and Thompson, Andrew F. (2016) Lagrangian pathways of upwelling in the Southern Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, 121 (8). pp. 6295-6309. ISSN 2169-9275.

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The spatial and temporal variability of upwelling into the mixed layer in the Southern Ocean is studied using a 1/10° ocean general circulation model. Virtual drifters are released in a regularly-spaced pattern across the Southern Ocean at depths of 250, 500, and 1000 m during both summer and winter months. The drifters are advected along isopycnals for a period of four years, unless they outcrop into the mixed layer, where lateral advection and a parameterization of vertical mixing is applied. The focus of this study is on the discrete exchange between the model mixed layer and the interior. Localization of interior-mixed layer exchange occurs downstream of major topographic features across the Indian and Pacific basins, creating “hotspots” of outcropping. Minimal outcropping occurs in the Atlantic basin, while 59% of drifters outcrop in the Pacific sector and in Drake Passage (the region from 140° W to 40° W), a disproportionately large amount even when considering the relative basin sizes. Due to spatial and temporal variations in mixed layer depth, the Lagrangian trajectories provide a statistical measure of mixed layer residence times. For each exchange into the mixed layer, the residence time has a Rayleigh distribution with a mean of 30 days; the cumulative residence time of the drifters is 261 ± 194 days, over a period of four years. These results suggest that certain oceanic gas concentrations, such as CO_2 and ^(14)C, will likely not reach equilibrium with the atmosphere before being re-subducted.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemModel Output ItemArgo-derived mixed layer depth data
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Additional Information:© 2016 American Geophysical Union. Received 4 MAR 2016; Accepted 4 AUG 2016; Accepted article online 8 AUG 2016; Published online 23 AUG 2016. We thank Jess Adkins, Matt Mazloff, and Jean-Baptiste Sallèe for helpful discussions during this work. AFT gratefully acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (OCE-1235488). GAV thanks the Vanoni Fellowship for supporting this work. The model output used are listed in the references and available from JAMSTEC at The Argo-derived mixed layer depth data are available at
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Vanoni FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Southern Ocean; upwelling; Lagrangian pathways; mixed layer
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160809-075333471
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Viglione, G. A., and A. F. Thompson (2016), Lagrangian pathways of upwelling in the Southern Ocean, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, 6295–6309, doi:10.1002/2016JC011773
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69507
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:09 Aug 2016 15:59
Last Modified:26 Sep 2017 22:10

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