Understanding Thermohaline Mixing in the Agulhas Return Current from Seismic and Finestructure Observations
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The Agulhas Current System in the South Indian Ocean Figure 1a is one of the strongest western boundary current systems in the world due to its large volume transport order 70 Sv and high distribution of mean kinetic energy up to 500 cm2s2 in the northern Agulhas Current Lutjeharms, 2007. Downstream of the southwestward flowing Agulhas Current, the Agulhas Return Current ARC begins at the Agulhas retroflection in the southeast Atlantic and flows eastward in a quasistationary meandering pattern between 38o and 40o S Boebel et al., 2003. Like the Agulhas Current, the ARC exhibits intense dynamics, strong mean currents, high levels of mesoscale variability and abundant eddy events Lutjeharms and Ansorge, 2001. In addition, the close contact between subpolar and sub-tropical water masses in this region produces a strong frontal zone that is characterized by the presence of a strong temperature front and is manifested by interleaving thermohaline intrusions at submesoscales.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography