Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Budillon G., Castagno P., Aliani S., Spezie G., Padman L. Thermohaline variability and Antarctic bottom water formation at the Ross Sea shelf break. In: Deep-Sea Research Part I-Oceanographic Research Papers, vol. 58 (10) pp. 1002 - 1018. Elsevier Ltd, 2011. [Online First 03 August 2011]
We use hydrological and current meter data collected in the Ross Sea, Antarctica between 1995 and 2006 to describe the spatial and temporal variability of water masses involved in the production of Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW). Data were collected in two regions of known outflows of dense shelf water in this region; the Drygalski Trough (DT) and the Glomar-Challenger Trough (GCT). Dense shelf water just inshore of the shelf break is dominated by High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) in the DT and Ice Shelf Water (ISW) in the GCT. The HSSW in the northern DT freshened by ∼0.06 in 11 y, while the ISW in the northern GCT freshened by ∼0.04 in 8 y and warmed by ∼0.04 C in 11 y, dominated by a rapid warming during austral summer 2001/02. The Antarctic Slope Front separating the warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) from the shelf waters is more stable near GCT than near DT, with CDW and mixing products being found on the outer DT shelf but not on the outer GCT shelf. The different source waters and mixing processes at the two sites lead to production of AABW with different thermohaline characteristics in the central and western Ross Sea. Multi-year time series of hydrography and currents at long-term moorings within 100 km of the shelf break in both troughs confirm the interannual signals in the dense shelf water and reveal the seasonal cycle of water mass properties. Near the DT the HSSW salinities experienced maxima in March/April and minima in September/October. The ISW in the GCT is warmest in March/April and coolest between August and October. Mooring data also demonstrate significant high-frequency variability associated with tides and other processes. Wavelet analysis of near-bottom moored sensors sampling the dense water cascade over the continental slope west of the GCT shows intermittent energetic pulses of cold, dense water with periods from ~32 h to ~5 days.
URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0967063711001245
DOI: 10.1016/j.dsr.2011.07.002
Subject Ross Sea
Interannual variability

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