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Seasonal Meandering of the Polar Front Upstream of the Kerguelen Plateau

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare E. Pauthenet
Fabien Roquet
G. Madec
C. Guinet
M. Hindell
C. R. McMahon
R. Harcourt
D. Nerini
Publicerad i Geophysical Research Letters
Volym 45
Nummer/häfte 18
Sidor 9774-9781
ISSN 0094-8276
Publiceringsår 2018
Publicerad vid Institutionen för marina vetenskaper
Sidor 9774-9781
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018gl079614
Ämnesord Antarctic Polar Front, Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean fronts, functional, southern, variability, circulation, islands, RS,INSU,IRD,UM110
Ämneskategorier Marin ekologi, Oceanografi

Sammanfattning

The location of the Antarctic Polar Front (PF) is mapped in the Southern Indian Ocean by decomposing the shape of temperature and salinity profiles into vertical modes using a functional Principal Component Analysis. We define the PF as the northernmost minimum of temperature at the subsurface and represent it as a linear combination of the first three modes. This method is applied on an ocean reanalysis data set and on in situ observations, revealing a seasonal variability of the PF latitudinal position that is most pronounced between the Conrad Rise and the Kerguelen Plateau. This shift coincides with variations in the transport across the Northern Kerguelen Plateau. We suggest that seasonal changes of the upper stratification may drive the observed variability of the PF, with potentially large implications for the pathways and residence time of water masses over the plateau and the phytoplankton bloom extending southeast of the Kerguelen Islands. Plain Language Summary The Antarctic Polar Front (PF) is a water mass boundary that flows around Antarctica between approximately 48 degrees S and 56 degrees S in the Southern Indian Ocean. The position of the PF in space and time is important to understand the oceanic circulation, the heat and salt exchanges, and also marine ecosystems. In the Indian sector the PF has to cross the Kerguelen Plateau, a major bottom topography feature. The present study develops and then applies a novel method for mapping the PF taking into account the whole hydrographic structure in the upper 300 m of the ocean. We are able to map the PF position and find that it presents large seasonal variations that are more intense just west of the Kerguelen Plateau. Between the Conrad Rise and the Kerguelen Plateau, the PF is essentially zonally orientated in September and found farther south by up to 4 degrees latitude in March. Shifts in the PF position are shown to correlate with a seasonal variation in volume transport between Kerguelen and Heard Islands. We discuss how these seasonal variations in circulation pathways could have an impact on the local marine ecosystems.

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