Sea surface salinity and temperature budgets in the North Atlantic subtropical gyre during SPURS experiment: August 2012-August 2013

Anna Sommer, Gilles Reverdin, Nicolas Kolodziejczyk, Jacqueline Boutin

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Variability at large to meso-scale in sea surface salinity (SSS) and sea surface temperature (SST) is investigated in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean during the Subtropical Atlantic Surface Salinity Experiment Strasse/SPURS in August 2012—August 2013. The products of the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission corrected from large scale systematic errors are tested and used to retrieve meso-scale salinity features, while OSTIA products, resolving meso-scale temperature features are used for SST. The comparison of corrected SMOS SSS data with drifter's in situ measurements from SPURS experiment shows a reasonable agreement, especially during winter time with RMS differences on the order of 0.15 pss (for 10 days, 75 km resolution SMOS product). The analysis of SSS (SST) variability reveals that the meso-scale eddies contribute to a substantial freshening (cooling) in the central high salinity region of the subtropical gyre, albeit smaller than Ekman and atmospheric freshwater (heat) seasonal flux, which are the leading terms in SSS (SST) budget. An error is estimated along with SSS and SST budgets; as well as sensitivity to the different products in use and residuals are discussed. The residuals in the SSS budget are large and can arise from errors in the advection fields and freshwater flux, from neglected small scale or unresolved local processes (salt fingering, vertical mixing, and small scale subduction, etc.). However, their magnitude is similar to what is often parameterized as eddy horizontal diffusion to close large scale budgets.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
Publication statusPublished - 8 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

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