Mixed-layer salinity in the tropical Atlantic Ocean : seasonal and interannual variability

Casimir Da-Allada 1
1 OLVAC LEGOS
LEGOS - Laboratoire d'études en Géophysique et océanographie spatiales
Abstract : The objective of this thesis is to study the variability of the ocean sea surface salinity (SSS) in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, at seasonal and interannual time scales. To achieve this, we used in-situ and satellite data as well as results of ocean models. We have shown that the density and the quality of the available observations allows us to approach the salinity balance in the mixed-layer in the whole tropical Atlantic basin and mixed-layer salinity balance is more sensitive to currents than to freshwater flux. We investigate the main mechanisms which modulate the variability of the SSS in the tropical Atlantic and especially in the Gulf of Guinea. In the western and north-eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean, the seasonal variability of SSS is controlled by advection and freshwater flux whereas, in the central basin, the salinity balance is mostly due to freshwater flux. In the Gulf of Guinea, freshwater flux does not play a key role as in previous regions and the seasonal cycle of SSS is a balance between the vertical processes (advection and diffusion) that increase SSS and the horizontal advection which decrease the SSS. We focus our analysis of SSS interannual variability in the Gulf of Guinea. Results indicate that in the northern region and in the equatorial region, SSS changes are due to changes in precipitations and evaporation and changes in oceanic processes (advection and vertical diffusion) while in the southern Gulf of Guinea only oceanic process changes can explain SSS anomalies. We noted an SSS increase in the northeastern Gulf of Guinea during the period 2002-2009. We argue that it is due mainly to decrease precipitation in this region. Finally, we also showed that the effect of the runoff is to amplify the signal of SSS and can impact the mixed-layer depth, the surface currents and the sea surface temperature.
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Casimir Da-Allada. Mixed-layer salinity in the tropical Atlantic Ocean : seasonal and interannual variability. Oceanography. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2013. English. ⟨tel-00925720⟩

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