Freshwater and Heat Changes in the North and South Pacific Oceans between the 1960s and 1985-94.

Edited: 2011-02-18
TitleFreshwater and Heat Changes in the North and South Pacific Oceans between the 1960s and 1985-94.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsWong, A. P. S., N. Bindoff, and J. Church
JournalJournal of Climate
Date Published04/2001
Keywordsclimate, sea_level
AbstractComparisons of hydrographic conditions in the North and South Pacific Oceans in the 1960s and 1985-94 have been made along five World Ocean Circulation Experiment sections. Below the seasonal mixed layer, statistically significant temporal differences in salinity and temperature have been detected in the water masses that occur in the upper 2000 dbar of the water column. These water mass property differences have been used to estimate the freshwater and heat storage trends in the Pacific over the study period. Along 24°N, 10°N, and 17°S, where either North Pacific Intermediate Water or Antarctic Intermediate Water is present, the upper waters have increased in salinity, while the intermediate and deep waters have decreased in salinity. Although the depth-integrated salinity changes observed along these sections are small, the regional redistribution of freshwater associated with the water mass changes is significant and implies significant redistribution of surface freshwater fluxes over the Pacific. Heat loss has occurred along 47°N and 17°S, but significant warming has occurred along 24° and 10°N, giving the Pacific a net heat gain of 1.79 × 108 J m2. The resulting steric sea level change for the area in the Pacific between 60°N and 31.5°S over the roughly 20-yr study period is estimated to be a rise of 0.85 mm yr1, consistent with those in existing literature, but larger than that estimated from numerical models reported in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Second Assessment Report.