Science Meetings

Sea Surface Salinity Fronts in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean (Poster)
Ruiz-Etcheverry, L., Maximenko, N.A., and Melnichenko, O. (07-Nov-17)

Marine fronts are narrow boundaries that separate water masses of different properties. These fronts are caused by various forcing and believed to be an important component of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system, particularly in the tropical oceans. In this study, we use sea surface salinity (SSS) observations from Aquarius satellite to investigate the spatial structure and temporal variability of SSS fronts in the tropical Atlantic. A number of frontal features have been identified. The mean magnitude of the SSS gradient is maximum near the mouth of the Congo River (0.3-0.4 psu/100km). Relative maxima are also observed in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the Gulf of Guinea, and the mouth of the Amazon River. The pattern of the magnitude of the SSS anomaly gradient revealed that the interaction between river plumes and saltier interior water is complex and highly variable during the three-year observation period. The variability of the magnitude of the density anomaly gradient computed from Aquarius SSS and Reynolds SST is also discussed. Images of the ocean color are utilized to trace the movement of the Congo and Amazon River plumes and compare them with the magnitude of the SSS gradient. Additionally, we analyze de circulation associated with the Amazon plume with altimetry data, and the vertical structure and its changes in time through Argo profiles.