Geophysical Research Letters

Abyssal connections of Antarctic Bottom Water in a Southern Ocean State Estimate

Authors

  • Erik van Sebille,

    Corresponding author
    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    • Corresponding author: E. van Sebille, ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia. (e.vansebille@unsw.edu.au)

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  • Paul Spence,

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Matthew R. Mazloff,

    1. Scripps Institute of Oceanography, La Jolla, California, USA
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  • Matthew H. England,

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
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  • Stephen R. Rintoul,

    1. Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Hobart, Tas, Australia
    2. Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tas, Australia
    3. Wealth From Oceans National Research Flagship, CSIRO, Hobart, Tas, Australia
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  • Oleg A. Saenko

    1. ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and Climate Change Research Centre, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia
    2. Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Environment Canada, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

[1] Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) is formed in a few locations around the Antarctic continent, each source with distinct temperature and salinity. After formation, the different AABW varieties cross the Southern Ocean and flow into the subtropical abyssal basins. It is shown here, using the analysis of Lagrangian trajectories within the Southern Ocean State Estimate (SOSE) model, that the pathways of the different sources of AABW have to a large extent amalgamated into one pathway by the time it reaches 31°S in the deep subtropical basins. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current appears to play an important role in the amalgamation, as 70% of the AABW completes at least one circumpolar loop before reaching the subtropical basins. This amalgamation of AABW pathways suggests that on decadal to centennial time scales, changes to properties and formation rates in any of the AABW source regions will be conveyed to all three subtropical abyssal basins.

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