Séminaire : Eike Köhn (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre of Ocean Research Kiel, Germany): Ventilation of the eastern tropical North Atlantic oxygen minimum zone in a non-linear shallow water model
Tuesday 03 April 2018, 11:00am - 12:00pm
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Abstract : Increased observational efforts have revealed a multi-decadal decrease of oxygen concentrations with superimposed inter-annual to decadal variability in the oxygen minimum zone (OMZ) of the eastern tropical North Atlantic (ETNA). Recent studies have linked this variability to long-term changes in the ventilation by the latitudinally alternating zonal jets (LAZJs).

In this study a 1.5 layer non-linear shallow water model coupled to an advection-diffusion model is employed in basins with either rectangular or Atlantic geometry to obtain a conceptual understanding of the influence of the LAZJs on the ventilation of the ETNA OMZ. Using an equatorial annual period forcing, westward propagating off-equatorial Rossby waves are generated that subsequently break up into non-linear eddies. The responsible non-linear triad instability mechanism thereby sets the amplitude and size of the generated eddies, which rectify to LAZJs when temporally averaged. The oxygen-mimicking tracer is transported by the resulting velocity field, forming a region with minimum tracer concentration whose location is in general agreement with the observed ETNA OMZ. The thickness-weighted tracer budget reveals that the mean advective flux convergence outweighs the eddy advective flux convergence in balancing the strongly simplified tracer consumption. Thickness-weighted averaging the advective flux convergence also yields an eddy mixing term which is shown to play an important role in the budget and is analysed in more detail.
Despite the purely annual period forcing, inter-annual to decadal and longer tracer variability is excited throughout the basin, including the region of the ETNA OMZ. A comparison between modelled and observed oxygen trends does not lead to a rejection of the null hypothesis that the observed decadal oxygen trends are part of the system’s intrinsic variability. However, the observed multi-decadal oxygen decrease is not reproduced by the idealised model. While this would support the idea of an anthropogenically driven deoxygenation, it is important to bear the simplicity and shortcomings of the model in mind.
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Location salle de réunion LOCEAN, tour 45/55, 4eme étage



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