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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
01 Aug 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Ocean Science (OS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Freshening of Antarctic Intermediate Water in the South Atlantic Ocean in 2005–2014
Wenjun Yao and Jiuxin Shi Key Lab of Physical Oceanography (Ocean University of China), Ministry of Education, Qingdao 266100, Shandong, China
Abstract. Basin-scaled freshening of Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) is reported to have dominated South Atlantic Ocean during period from 2005 to 2014, as shown by the gridded monthly means Argo (Array for Real-time Geostrophic Oceanography) data. The relevant investigation was also revealed by two transatlantic occupations of repeated section along 30° S, from World Ocean Circulation Experiment Hydrographic Program. Freshening of the AAIW was compensated by the opposing salinity increase of thermocline water, indicating the contemporaneous hydrological cycle intensification. This was illustrated by the precipitation less evaporation change in the Southern Hemisphere from 2000 to 2014, with freshwater input from atmosphere to ocean surface increasing in the subpolar high-precipitation region and vice versa in the subtropical high-evaporation region. Against the background of hydrological cycle augment, the decreased transport of Agulhas Leakage (AL) was proposed to be one of the contributors for the associated freshening of AAIW. This indirectly estimated variability of AL, reflected by the weakening of wind stress over the South Indian Ocean since the beginning of 2000s, facilitates the freshwater input from source region and partly contributes to the observed freshened AAIW. Both of our mechanical analysis is qualitative, but this work would be helpful to validate and test predictably coupled sea-air model simulations.

Citation: Yao, W. and Shi, J.: Freshening of Antarctic Intermediate Water in the South Atlantic Ocean in 2005–2014, Ocean Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2016.
Wenjun Yao and Jiuxin Shi
Wenjun Yao and Jiuxin Shi


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Short summary
Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) in the South Atlantic Ocean has experienced basin-scaled freshening from 2005 to 2014, reflected by the Argo gridded products. Two zonal sections of WOCE observation also revealed a similar quasi-decadal signal. Our analysis revealed that such freshening was induced by the contemporaneous freshwater input in the AAIW ventilation region and the reduced more saline water carried by Agulhas Leakage.
Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) in the South Atlantic Ocean has experienced basin-scaled...