Science Meetings

Modeling Multi-Scale Processes of the Sea Surface Salinity Maximum in the Subtropical North Atlantic
Li, Z., Gordon, A.L., Busecke, J., and Bingham, F.M. (26-Feb-14)

The SPURS-I field campaigns reveal that the subtropical North Atlantic region is a far more complex environment than the previously envisioned. We find highly textured meso-scale patterns in both the thermocline and current fields, which are directly coupled to the convergence of surface layer water masses, acting to offset the net regional evaporation. These water masses display highly different vertical temperature/salinity profiles. The water mass convergence in the area creates complex and multi-scale interactions among these water masses, and thus gives rise to energetic salinity fronts and eddies that spans through almost all the spectrum of meso-scales. A data assimilative high-resolution model has been set up to support the SPURS field campaigns by providing real-time predictions and conducting reanalyses and simulations post the campaigns. The model well reproduces those observed multi-scale textures, which present a scenario beyond the traditional explanation of the sea surface salinity maximum in the region.