Ocean circulation and variability in the Solomon sea

Abstract : The Low Latitude Western Boundary Currents (LLWBCs) of the Southwest Pacific establish a major connection between the subtropics and the equator. They are believed to play a key role in heat and mass budgets of the equatorial Pacific and cross, as a final passage, the Solomon Sea southeast of Papua New Guinea. As part of a France-U.S. collaboration, two oceanographic multidisciplinary cruises were conducted in the Solomon Sea during contrasting trade wind sea- sons, in July-August 2012 and March 2014 to characterize currents, water properties and their modifications. During July-August 2012, the season of strong southeasterly trade winds, an in- tense flow of 36 ± 3 Sv from the surface down to 1000 m is entering the Solomon Sea, that falls by 70% to 11 ± 3 Sv in March 2014 when the winds over the sea are weaker. The LLWBCs are associated with distinct water mass properties across the Solomon Sea that can be tracked along their pathways, and undergo significant modifications between the southern entrance and the northern exits of the sea. Below 2000 m, the Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW) has been traced from the New Caledonia Trench and the South Fiji Basin into the Solomon Sea, associ- ated with a volume transport of 2-3 ± 2 Sv. Preliminary analyses of the mooring array in each major exit channel indicate large time variability of the LLWBCs in both =intensity and vertical extent, where thermocline pathways vary in most cases, coherently and in phase at intraseasonal to seasonal time scales.
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Cyril Germineaud. Ocean circulation and variability in the Solomon sea. Earth Sciences. Université Paul Sabatier - Toulouse III, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016TOU30348⟩. ⟨tel-01767725⟩

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