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Correlations between heat content and thermocline depth of a first-mode baroclinic ocean in the Tropical Atlantic

Grant number: 10/08471-4
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): July 01, 2010
Effective date (End): December 31, 2010
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Olga Tiemi Sato
Grantee:Roberto Tomazini de Oliveira
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The tropical Atlantic Ocean is a crucial region to investigate variability ranging from intraseasonal to interannual and climate change in the world oceans. Despite the growing number of studies involving in situ measurements, they are still not sufficient for an effective monitoring of the region. Therefore, we rely on the developement of new methodologies that employ alternative data sources to study the ocean processes. The aim of this paper is to verify that the tropical Atlantic works as a 1.5-layer system ocean with the upper layer limited by the depth of the thermocline. To prove that, we will examine the statistical correlation between the time series of heat storage anomaly and the depth of the thermocline. In situ temperature and salinity profiles are obtained from the PIRATA's moored buoy arrays in the tropical Atlantic. These data are used to determine the thermocline depth, the heat storage, and dynamic height. Satellite altimetry data from TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason 1 and 2 will be used to calculate the heat storage anomaly collocated with the PIRATA buoys position. The confirmation of our scientific hypothesis will allow us to infer variations in the depth of the thermocline using satellite data, that is, to observe variations in the subsurface layers of the ocean by means of surface data only.