Source: AGU Advances
What goes down must come back up. While much research effort has been spent on understanding how the ocean is producing the dense waters that flow into the abyss, much less is known about how the waters come back up.
Using an ultra-high-resolution regional model of the Drake Passage region in the Southern Ocean, Baker et al.  show that a crucial first step in this journey back up is the mixing of freshly formed Antarctic Bottom Waters with lighter waters above. In particular, they demonstrate that this mixing is topographically driven, induced by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current impinging on the rough topography. In addition, they identify sharp density interfaces between the different water masses, which modify how the mixing occurs.
This work demonstrates how high-resolution processes are of critical importance for controlling the large scale meridional overturning circulation of the ocean, a critical element of Earth’s climate system.
Citation: Baker, L. E., Mashayek, A., & Naveira Garabato, A. C. (2023). Boundary upwelling of Antarctic Bottom Water by topographic turbulence. AGU Advances, 4, e2022AV000858. https://doi.org/10.1029/2022AV000858
—Nicolas Gruber, Editor, AGU Advances
Text © 2023. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
Except where otherwise noted, images are subject to copyright. Any reuse without express permission from the copyright owner is prohibited.