, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 389-403
Date: 27 Apr 2010

Pacific ocean circulation based on observation

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Abstract

A thorough understanding of the Pacific Ocean circulation is a necessity to solve global climate and environmental problems. Here we present a new picture of the circulation by integrating observational results. Lower and Upper Circumpolar Deep Waters (LCDW, UCDW) and Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) of 12, 7, and 5 Sv (106 m3s−1) in the lower and upper deep layers and the surface/intermediate layer, respectively, are transported to the North Pacific from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The flow of LCDW separates in the Central Pacific Basin into the western (4 Sv) and eastern (8 Sv) branches, and nearly half of the latter branch is further separated to flow eastward south of the Hawaiian Ridge into the Northeast Pacific Basin (NEPB). A large portion of LCDW on this southern route (4 Sv) upwells in the southern and mid-latitude eastern regions of the NEPB. The remaining eastern branch joins nearly half of the western branch; the confluence flows northward and enters the NEPB along the Aleutian Trench. Most of the LCDW on this northern route (5 Sv) upwells to the upper deep layer in the northern (in particular northeastern) region of the NEPB and is transformed into North Pacific Deep Water (NPDW). NPDW shifts southward in the upper deep layer and is modified by mixing with UCDW around the Hawaiian Islands. The modified NPDW of 13 Sv returns to the ACC. The remaining volume in the North Pacific (11 Sv) flows out to the Indian and Arctic Oceans in the surface/intermediate layer.