Impact of the Southern Annular Mode on Southern Ocean circulation and biology



[1] We investigate the impact of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) on surface wind, sea surface temperature (SST), and surface chlorophyll concentration on intraseasonal to interannual timescales in the Southern Ocean using 8-day average satellite observations. Positive phases of the SAM are associated with enhanced westerly winds over the Antarctic Zone (AZ) and Polar Frontal Zone, driving increased equatorward Ekman transport and cold SST anomalies in these regions. Positive SAM is also associated with easterly wind and warm SST anomalies in the Subtropical Zone. South of the Antarctic Polar Front (APF), chlorophyll concentration anomalies are positively correlated with the SAM, however this correlation is negative north of the APF. We suggest that the positive correlation in the AZ is due to the increased supply of iron by upwelling, while the negative correlation north of the APF is caused by stronger light limitation as a consequence of deeper mixed layers.