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Title: Changes in the Subantarctic Mode Water Properties and Spiciness in the Southern Indian Ocean based on Argo Observations
Abstract The Subantarctic Mode Water (SAMW) plays an essential role in the global heat, freshwater, carbon, and nutrient budgets. In this study, decadal changes in the SAMW properties in the Southern Indian Ocean (SIO) and associated thermodynamic and dynamic processes are investigated during the Argo era. Both temperature and salinity of the SAMW in the SIO show increasing trends during 2004-2018. A two-layer structure of the SAMW trend, with more warm and salty light SAMW but less cool and fresh dense SAMW, is identified. The heaving and spiciness processes are important but have opposite contributions to the temperature and salinity trends of the SAMW. A significant deepening of isopycnals (heaving), peaking at σ θ =26.7-26.8 kg m −3 in the middle layer of the SAMW, expands the warm and salty light SAMW and compresses the cool and fresh dense SAMW corresponding to the change in subduction rate during 2004-2018. The change in the SAMW subduction rate is dominated by the change in the mixed layer depth, controlled by the changes in wind stress curl and surface buoyancy loss. An increase in the mixed-layer temperature due to weakening northward Ekman transport of cool water leads to a lighter surface density in the SAMW formation region. Consequently, density outcropping lines in the SAMW formation region shift southward and favor the intrusion and entrainment of the cooler and fresher Antarctic surface water from the south, contributing to the cooling/freshening trend of isopycnals (spiciness). Subsequently, the cooler and fresher SAMW spiciness anomalies spread in the SIO via the subtropical gyre.  more » « less
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Journal of Physical Oceanography
Medium: X
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National Science Foundation
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