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Evolution of the Thermohaline Structure of One Agulhas Ring Reconstructed from Satellite Altimetry and Argo Floats

Abstract : The transfer of Indian Ocean thermocline and intermediate waters into the South Atlantic via the Agulhas leakage is generally believed to be primarily accomplished through mesoscale eddy processes, essentially anticyclones known as Agulhas Rings. Here we take advantage of a recent eddy tracking algorithm and Argo float profiles to study the evolution and the thermohaline structure of one of these eddies over the course of 1.5 years (May 2013-November 2014). We found that during this period the ring evolved according to two different phases: During the first one, taking place in winter, the mixing layer in the eddy deepened significantly. During the second phase, the eddy subsided below the upper warmer layer of the South Atlantic subtropical gyre while propagating west. The separation of this eddy from the sea surface could explain the decrease in its surface signature in satellite altimetry maps, suggesting that such changes are not due to eddy dissipation processes. It is a very large eddy (7.1×1013 m3 in volume), extending, after subduction, from a depth of 200-1,200 m and characterized by two mode water cores. The two mode water cores represent the largest eddy heat and salt anomalies when compared with the surrounding. In terms of its impact over 1 year, the north-westward propagation of this long-lived anticyclone induces a transport of 2.2 Sv of water, 0.008 PW of heat, and 2.2×105 kg s-1 of salt. These results confirm that Agulhas Rings play a very important role in the Indo-Atlantic interocean exchange of heat and salt.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 28, 2022 - 8:55:13 AM
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R. Laxenaire, S. Speich, A. Stegner. Evolution of the Thermohaline Structure of One Agulhas Ring Reconstructed from Satellite Altimetry and Argo Floats. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2019, 124, pp.8969-9003. ⟨10.1029/2018JC014426⟩. ⟨insu-03727003⟩

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