Science Meetings

Characteristics of the South Pacific Subtropical Surface Salinity Maximum
Bingham, F., Busecke, J.J.M, Gordon, A.L., and Giulivi, C.F. (24-Feb-16)

The surface salinity (SSS) in the eastern South Pacific has a large maximum centered near (21°S, 120°W). It extends approximately 5000 km in the east-west direction and is bounded by the Humboldt Current on the east and the South Pacific Convergence Zone on the west. It is distinct from another much smaller and less distinct SSS maximum feature in the western South Pacific near Australia. It is associated with high evaporation and surface Ekman convergence, weak variability and seasonality on the northern side, fluctuating size driven by changes in southward extent, mean surface currents flowing toward and through the feature from the north, and higher tendency for fresh anomalies on northern side. These characteristics highlight the role of mesoscale stirring and northward Ekman transport in the formation and maintenance of this prominent feature.