Upper-ocean heat budget and ocean eddy transport in the south-east Pacific in a high-resolution coupled model
- First Online:
- 151 Downloads
We present an analysis of the oceanic heat advection and its variability in the upper 500 m in the southeastern tropical Pacific (100W–75W, 25S–10S) as simulated by the global coupled model HiGEM, which has one of the highest resolutions currently used in long-term integrations. The simulated climatology represents a temperature advection field arising from transient small-scale (<450 km) features, with structures and transport that appear consistent with estimates based on available observational data for the mooring at 20S, 85W. The transient structures are very persistent (>4 months), and in specific locations they generate an important contribution to the local upper-ocean heat budget, characterised by scales of a few hundred kilometres, and periods of over a year. The contribution from such structures to the local, long-term oceanic heat budget however can be of either sign, or vanishing, depending on the location; and, although there appears some organisation in preferential areas of activity, the average over the entire region is small. While several different mechanisms may be responsible for the temperature advection by transients, we find that a significant, and possibly dominant, component is associated with vortices embedded in the large-scale, climatological salinity gradient associated with the fresh intrusion of mid-latitude intermediate water which penetrates north-westward beneath the tropical thermocline.