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Mesoscale and large-scale variability of the Antarctic circumpolar currentThis investigation of the physical oceanography of the Southern Ocean will carry out two parallel efforts during the years preceding the launch of TOPEX/POSEIDON. First, the Geosat data will be used to develop a preliminary descriptive picture of the mesoscale and large-scale, low-frequency surface circulation of the Southern Ocean. Some of this analysis of Geosat data has already begun. For example, as a measure of the geographical distribution of mesoscale variability, a color-coded map of the standard deviation of sea level from two years of Geosat data is shown. Efforts are presently under way to investigate the seasonal and year-to-year variability of this mesoscale energy. The data are also being used to generate low-pass filtered fields of sea level from which the temporal evolution of large-scale variability in the Southern Ocean may be investigated. The second parallel effort is the development and test of modeling and data assimilation techniques that will later be applied to TOPEX/POSEIDON data during the postlaunch phase. One objective of the modeling and data assimilation is to investigate the relation between mesoscale sea level variations and eddy flux in the Southern Ocean. Uncertainties in present estimates of the various components of meridional oceanic heat transport are large. The evidence presented indicates that the very energetic mesoscale variability in the ACC apparently accounts for much of the estimated 0.45x10(exp 15) watts of poleward heat transport across the ACC required to balance the heat budget. Eddy variability is strongly coherent vertically in the ACC, at least in the vicinity of Drake Passage where nearly all of the historical in situ data have been collected.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Chelton, Dudley B.
(Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, OR, United States)
Bennett, A. F.
(Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, OR, United States)
Deszoeke, R. A.
(Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, OR, United States)
Miller, R. N.
(Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, OR, United States)
Fu, Lee-Lueng
(Jet Propulsion Lab. California Inst. of Tech., Pasadena., United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: JPL, TOPEX(Poseidon Science Investigation Plan
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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