John Marshall

Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, MIT

Why is there net surface heating over the Antarctic Circumpolar Current?

Why is there net surface heating over the Antarctic Circumpolar Current?.

(Czaja, Arnaud and Marshall, John ), Ocean Dynamics, 2015.

Abstract

Using a combination of atmospheric reanalysis data, climate model outputs and a simple model, key mechanisms controlling net surface heating over the Southern Ocean are identified. All data sources used suggest that, in a streamline-averaged view, net surface heating over the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is a result of net accumulation of solar radiation rather than a result of heat gain through turbulent fluxes (the latter systematically cool the upper ocean). It is proposed that the fraction of this net radiative heat gain realized as net ACC heating is set by two factors. First, the sea surface temperature at the southern edge of the ACC. Second, the relative strength of the negative heatflux feedbacks associated with evaporation at the sea surface and advection of heat by the residual flow in the oceanic mixed layer. A large advective feedback and a weak evaporative feedback maximize net ACC heating. It is shown that the present Southern Ocean and its circumpolar current are in this heating regime.

doi = 10.1007/s10236-015-0830-1