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Free Content Prominent renewal of Weddell Sea Deep Water from a remote source

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Three transient tracer sections of CFC-11 across the Weddell Sea are presented, collected during "Polarstern" cruises ANT X/4 (July 1992), ANT XIII/4 (May 1996) and ANT XV/4 (April 1998). The corresponding sections of silicate, a quasi-steady-state tracer, are displayed for comparison and as a supplement. Two distinct CFC-11 maximum layers are found in the deep water, one centered near 2200 m and another near 3500 m. These layers, previously observed by other investigators, represent recently ventilated Weddell Sea Deep Water. The deeper, more pronounced core, occurs along the southern continental slope, whereas the shallower core occurs in the northern Weddell Sea. The deeper CFC-11 maximum layer coincides with a pronounced silicate minimum layer. Quantitatively, the deeper core constitutes a ventilation route for the Weddell Sea of utmost importance, the amount of ventilated surface water involved being 2.7 ± 0.9 Sv. Most of the deep interior Weddell Sea appears to be ventilated by this external source. The ventilation rate of the Weddell Sea due to the inflow from the east is at least as high as that from the local southern and western sources that produce bottom water. Associated with the deep CFC-11 maximum core are discontinuities in the potential temperature-property diagrams of silicate, oxygen, total carbon dioxide, nitrate and salinity. The recently ventilated deep water is characterized by low concentrations of silicate, total carbon dioxide and nitrate, and by high oxygen content and salinity as compared to the deep water at the same potential temperature formed by mixing of Warm Deep Water and Weddell Sea Bottom Water.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2001

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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