On the Florida Current T/S Envelope
The 30 Sverdrups (Sv.) transported by the Florida Current through the Straits of Florida off Miami may consist of a wind-driven contribution of 17 Sv. from the North Atlantic, along with a thermohaline component of 13 Sv. from the South Atlantic. Here we examine this possibility in terms of temperature/salinity (T/S) and temperature/oxygen (T/O2) distributions. It is demonstrated that only the salty part of the T/S envelope for the Florida Current can be advectively traced back to the interior sub-tropical gyre along 24N. The fresh contribution can mostly be found to the south along 52W and into the tropical South Atlantic. There are also fresh contributions from the Canary Current and from Continental Edge Water formed in the Gulf of Mexico. The T/S characteristics of the coldest segment of the Florida Current (7–12°C) could be a product of comparatively fresh water of South Atlantic origin (upper Antarctic Intermediate Water) becoming slightly saltier by vertical mixing in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean, perhaps due to “salt fingers.” In the Caribbean passages there is an interesting partitioning of the Florida Current T/S envelope with Windward Passage prominently displaying the salty segment and Anegada Passage playing a crucial role in the low temperature fresh segment. This low-temperature contribution from the South Atlantic can be traced into the Caribbean and Straits of Florida in oxygen range as well.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 1993
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