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Geophysical Research Letters

Remotely induced warming of Antarctic Bottom Water in the eastern Weddell gyre

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Abstract

[1] Four repeat hydrographic sections across the eastern Weddell gyre at 30°E reveal a warming (by ~0.1°C) and lightening (by ~0.02–0.03 kg m−3) of the Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) entering the gyre from the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean between the mid-1990s and late 2000s. Historical hydrographic and altimetric measurements in the region suggest that the most likely explanation for the change is increased entrainment of warmer mid-depth Circumpolar Deep Water by cascading shelf water plumes close to Cape Darnley, where the Indian-sourced AABW entering the Weddell gyre from the east is ventilated. This change in entrainment is associated with a concurrent southward shift of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current's (ACC) southern boundary in the region. This mechanism of AABW warming may affect wherever the ACC flows close to Antarctica.

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Ancillary