Altimeter-derived seasonal circulation on the southwest Atlantic shelf: 27°–43°S Public Deposited

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  • Altimeter sea surface height (SSH) fields are analyzed to define and discuss the seasonal circulation over the wide continental shelf in the SW Atlantic Ocean (27°–43°S) during 2001–2012. Seasonal variability is low south of the Rio de la Plata (RdlP), where winds and currents remain equatorward for most of the year. Winds and currents in the central and northern parts of our domain are also equatorward during autumn and winter but reverse to become poleward during spring and summer. Transports of shelf water to the deep ocean are strongest during summer offshore and to the southeast of the RdlP. Details of the flow are discussed using mean monthly seasonal cycles of winds, heights, and currents, along with analyses of Empirical Orthogonal Functions. Principle Estimator Patterns bring out the patterns of wind forcing and ocean response. The largest part of the seasonal variability in SSH signals is due to changes in the wind forcing (described above) and changes in the strong boundary currents that flow along the eastern boundary of the shelf. The rest of the variability contains a smaller component due to heating and expansion of the water column, concentrated in the southern part of the region next to the coast. Our results compare well to previous studies using in situ data and to results from realistic numerical models of the regional circulation.
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  • Strub, P. T., James, C., Combes, V., Matano, R. P., Piola, A. R., Palma, E. D., ... & Ruiz‐Etcheverry, L. A. (2015). Altimeter‐derived seasonal circulation on the southwest Atlantic shelf: 27°–43° S. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120 (5), 3391-3418. doi:10.1002/2015JC010769
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  • 120
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  • 5
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  • Altimeter data were provided by the RADS system for along-track data (available from and by AVISO for gridded data and the mean dynamic topography ( Wind data are from the ECMWF reanalysis ( and from the scatterometer climatology of Risien and Chelton [ 2008] ( Partial support for C.J., P.T.S., R.P.M., and V.C. comes from NASA grants NNX08AR40G, NNX10A092G, and NNX13AH22G. Additional support for P.T.S., R.P.M., and V.C. comes from NASA grant NNX12AF67G. RPM and VC also acknowledge the financial support of NOAA through grant NA13OAR4310132 and the National Science Foundation through grant OCE-0928348. A.R.P., E.D.P., M.S., and R.A.G. acknowledge the financial support of grants 001 and 008 from Comision Nacional de Actividades Espaciales/Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia e Innovacion Productiva, Argentina. A.R.P. and M.S. also acknowledge the support of grants SGP2076 and CRN 3070 from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research, through the US National Science Foundation grants GEO-0452325 and GEO-1128040. E.D.P., A.R.P., and M.S. also acknowledge the support from Agencia Nacional de Promocion Cientifica y Tecnologica Grant PICT12-0467. M.S. also acknowledges support from ECOS-Sud A14U02, EUMETSAT/CNES DSP/OT/12-2118 and CONICET-YPF PIO 133-20130100242.
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