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Thermobaricity in the Transition Zones between Alpha and Beta Oceans

Stewart, Kial; Haine, T.W.N.

Description

The role of the ocean in Earth’s climate is fundamentally influenced by the locally dominant stratifying property (heat or salt), which in turn can be used to categorize the ocean into three classes: alpha, beta, and transition zone oceans. Alpha and beta oceans are regions where the stratification is permanently set by heat and salt, respectively. Transition zone oceans exist between alpha and beta oceans and are regions where the stratification is seasonally or intermittently set by heat or...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorStewart, Kial
dc.contributor.authorHaine, T.W.N.
dc.date.accessioned2018-11-29T22:52:57Z
dc.date.available2018-11-29T22:52:57Z
dc.identifier.issn0022-3670
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/152329
dc.description.abstractThe role of the ocean in Earth’s climate is fundamentally influenced by the locally dominant stratifying property (heat or salt), which in turn can be used to categorize the ocean into three classes: alpha, beta, and transition zone oceans. Alpha and beta oceans are regions where the stratification is permanently set by heat and salt, respectively. Transition zone oceans exist between alpha and beta oceans and are regions where the stratification is seasonally or intermittently set by heat or salt. Despite their large ranges of temperature and salinity, transition zone oceans are the most weakly stratified regions of the upper oceans, making them ideal locations for thermobaric effects arising from the nonlinear equation of state of seawater. Here a novel definition and quantification of alpha, beta, and transition zone oceans is presented and used to analyze 4 years (2010–13) of hydrographic data developed from the Argo profiling float array. Two types of thermobaric instabilities are defined and identified in the hydrographic data. The first type arises from the vertical relocation of individual water parcels. The second type is novel and relates to the effect of pressure on the stratification through the pressure dependence of the thermal expansion coefficient; water that is stably stratified for one pressure is not necessarily stable for other pressures. The upper 1500 m of the global ocean is composed of 67% alpha, 15% beta, and 17% transition zone oceans, with 5.7% identified as thermobarically unstable. Over 63% of these thermobarically unstable waters exist in transition zone oceans, suggesting that these are important locations for efficient vertical transport of water-mass properties.
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.publisherAmerican Meteorological Society
dc.sourceJournal of Physical Oceanography
dc.titleThermobaricity in the Transition Zones between Alpha and Beta Oceans
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume46
dc.date.issued2016
local.identifier.absfor040403 - Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
local.identifier.ariespublicationu4027924xPUB480
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationStewart, Kial, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationHaine, T.W.N., Johns Hopkins University
local.bibliographicCitation.issue6
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage1805
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage1821
local.identifier.doi10.1175/JPO-D-16-0017.1
local.identifier.absseo970104 - Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences
dc.date.updated2018-11-29T07:50:09Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-84975257582
local.identifier.thomsonID000377103200003
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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