The Low-Frequency Variability of the Southern Ocean Circulation Public Deposited

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  • Abstract: Long time series of sea surface height (SSH), sea surface temperature, and wind stress curl are used to determine the main modes of low-frequency variability of the Southern Ocean (SO) circulation. The dominant mode is a trend of increasing SSH at an average rate of 3.3 mm yr(-1). Similar trends have been reported in previous studies and the analysis indicates that the tendency of sea level increase over the SO has become more spatially homogeneous during the last decade, with changes in the increasing rate in 2000 and 2006. The other modes consist of stationary, basin-type modes, and an eastward-propagating wave. The stationary modes are particularly dominant in the Indian and Atlantic Ocean basins, where their spatial structure appears to be shaped by the basin geometry and the bottom topography. The wavelike patterns travel eastward with a period of approximately 10 years. Two waves were identified in the analysis: a complete cycle between 1997 and 2007 and a second cycle starting in 2000. Such waves have rarely been mentioned or identified in studies using recent satellite-derived SSH products.
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  • Giarolla, E., & Matano, R. (2013). The low-frequency variability of the southern ocean circulation. Journal of Climate, 26(16), 6081-6091. doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-12-00293.1
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