National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2006

Recent western South Atlantic bottom water warming

Johnson, G.C., and S.C. Doney

Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L14614, doi: 10.1029/2006GL026769 (2006)

Potential temperature differences are computed from hydrographic sections transiting the western basins of the South Atlantic Ocean from 60°S to the equator in 2005/ 2003 and 1989/1995. While warming is observed throughout much of the water column, the most statistically significant warming is about +0.04°C in the bottom 1500 dbar of the Brazil Basin, with similar (but less statistically significant) warming signals in the abyssal Argentine Basin and Scotia Sea. These abyssal waters of Antarctic origin spread northward in the South Atlantic. The observed abyssal Argentine Basin warming is of a similar magnitude to that previously reported between 1980 and 1989. The Brazil Basin abyssal warming is similar in size to and consistent in timing with previously reported changes in abyssal southern inflowand northern outflow. The temperature changes reported here, if they were to hold throughout the abyssal world ocean, would contribute substantially to global ocean heat budgets.

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