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How rapidly do the southern subtropical oceans respond to wind stress changes?
  • Darryn W. Waugh,
  • Thomas W N Haine
Darryn W. Waugh
Johns Hopkins University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Thomas W N Haine
Johns Hopkins University
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The response time of the southern subtropical oceans to an increase in the wind stress is examined in a climate model perturbation simulation where there is an abrupt increase in the wind stress. The ocean response time is shown to vary among fields: The intensification of the gyres and vertical movement of isopycnals happens over 5-10 years, while the change in ideal age, temperature, and salinity in mode and intermediate waters occurs much slower, with the response time exceeding 100 years at depths of 500-1000 m. While the response time for ideal age is longer than that for the surface circulation it is notable that it is much younger than the ideal age itself. The different response times indicate that changes in the winds over the southern oceans and in the horizontal circulation / density structure will occur near simultaneously, but there may be a substantial lag in subsurface changes from wind changes and these may persist for decades even if no further changes in the winds occurs
Jul 2020Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans volume 125 issue 7. 10.1029/2020JC016236