Middepth circulation of the eastern tropical South Pacific and its link to the oxygen minimum zone Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • There is an incomplete description of the middepth circulation and its link to the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) in the eastern tropical South Pacific. Subsurface currents of the OMZ in the eastern tropical South Pacific are investigated with a focus at 400 m depth, close to the core of the OMZ, using several acoustic Doppler current profiler sections recorded in January and February 2009. Five profiling floats with oxygen sensors were deployed along 85°50W in February 2009 with a drift depth at 400 m. Their spreading paths are compared with the model flow field from a 1/10° tropical Pacific model (TROPAC01) and the Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) model. Overall the mean currents in the eastern tropical South Pacific are weak so that eddy variability influences the flow and ultimately feeds oxygen-poor water to the OMZ. The center of the OMZ is a stagnant area so that floats stay much longer in this region and can even reverse direction. In one case, one float deployed at 8°S, returned to the same location after 15 months. On the northern side of the OMZ in the equatorial current system, floats move rapidly to the west. Most current bands reported for the near-surface layer exist also in the depth range of the OMZ. A schematic circulation flow field for the OMZ core depth is derived which shows the northern part of the South Pacific subtropical gyre south of the OMZ and the complicated zonal equatorial flow field north of the OMZ. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.

author list (cited authors)

  • Czeschel, R., Stramma, L., Schwarzkopf, F. U., Giese, B. S., Funk, A., & Karstensen, J.

citation count

  • 65

publication date

  • January 2011