Freshwater and heat transports from global ocean synthesis

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Valdivieso, Maria ; Haines, Keith ; Zuo, H. ; Lea, D. (2014)

[1] An eddy-permitting ¼° global ocean reanalysis based on the Operational Met Office FOAM data assimilation system has been run for 1989–2010 forced by ERA-Interim meteorology. Freshwater and heat transports are compared with published estimates globally and in each basin, with special focus on the Atlantic. The meridional transports agree with observations within errors at most locations, but where eddies are active the transports by the mean flow are nearly always in better agreement than the total transports. Eddy transports are down gradient and are enhanced relative to a free run. They may oppose or reinforce mean transports and provide 40–50% of the total transport near midlatitude fronts, where eddies with time scales <1 month provide up to 15%. Basin-scale freshwater convergences are calculated with the Arctic/Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans north of 32°S, all implying net evaporation of 0.33 ± 0.04 Sv, 0.65 ± 0.07 Sv, and 0.09 ± 0.04 Sv, respectively, within the uncertainty of observations in the Atlantic and Pacific. The Indian is more evaporative and the Southern Ocean has more precipitation (1.07 Sv). Air-sea fluxes are modified by assimilation influencing turbulent heat fluxes and evaporation. Generally, surface and assimilation fluxes together match the meridional transports, indicating that the reanalysis is close to a steady state. Atlantic overturning and gyre transports are assessed with overturning freshwater transports southward at all latitudes. At 26°N eddy transports are negligible, overturning transport is 0.67 ± 0.19 Sv southward and gyre transport is 0.44 ± 0.17 Sv northward, with divergence between 26°N and the Bering Strait of 0.13 ± 0.23 Sv over 2004–2010.
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