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Antarctic Circumpolar Current frontal system in the South Atlantic: Monitoring using merged Argo and animal-borne sensor data

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L. Boehme, M. P. Meredith, S. E. Thorpe, Erik Martin Biuw, M. Fedak

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We describe large-scale features of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) in the Atlantic part of the Southern Ocean by merging Argo data and data obtained by novel animal-borne CTD sensors. Twenty one of these CTD-Satellite Relay Data Loggers (CTD-SRDLs) were attached to Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) on South Georgia. The merged data yield unified gridded hydrogaphic fields with high temporal and spatial resolution, enabling the determination of features absent in each of the data sets separately. The structure and variability of the frontal field revealed by this data set were compared with those in daily quarter-degree, optimally interpolated sea surface temperature fields and fields of weekly gridded sea level anomaly. In general, the frontal positions derived using our data set are in agreement with previous work, especially where the pathways are constrained by topography, e. g., at the North Scotia Ridge and the South Scotia Ridge. However, with the improved temporal and spacial resolution provided by the CTD-SRDLs, we were able to observe some novel features. All frontal positions are more variable than previously indicated across the Scotia Sea and west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge on seasonal time scales. The merged data set shows the temporal variability of the Southern ACC Front (SACCF) north of South Georgia and in its position east of the island, where the SACCF lies further north than has been suggested in previous work. In addition, the Subantarctic Front crosses the Mid-Atlantic Ridge about 400 km further north when compared to previous work.



Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C09012
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research - Oceans
Issue numberC9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sep 2008

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