Upwelling in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean


Professorin Dr. Monika Rhein 
Universität Bremen 
Institut für Umweltphysik 
Abteilung Ozeanographie

project description

Upwelling is an important process in setting the characteristic of the mixed layer. Upwelling also provides a pathway for gases, nutrients, and other compounds from the ocean’s interior into the mixed layer and ultimately into the atmosphere. Since the upwelling velocities are small, they cannot be measured directly. Recently, Rhein et al. (2010) exploited the helium isotope disequilibria found in the equatorial eastern Atlantic to infer upwelling speeds, upwelling rates, and vertical heat fluxes between the mixed layer and the ocean’s interior. The disequilibrium in the mixed layer is caused by upwelling of 3He-enriched water from the interior. The surplus 3He is introduced into the deep ocean by hydrothermal activities.A first survey of historical Helium isotope data in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) and the Weddell Sea showed, that the mixed layer is also enriched with 3He, which in summer months is supplied by upwelling of water from below the mixed layer. Although the first estimates of upwelling velocities from the historical data set look promising, the present Helium data lack a sufficient resolution in the upper 200-300m to determine the horizontal and vertical He gradients, necessary for the compilation of the upwelling velocity and of the contribution of diapycnal mixing. Here we propose to take the historical He data, and a new dedicated He data sets to be taken in November 2010 – February 2011 during the POLARSTERN cruise ANT 27/2 and January- February 2012 during POLARSTERN cruise ANT28/3 to calculate upwelling speeds and –rates in the Weddell Sea and the ACC, as well as heat fluxes between the interior and the mixed layer.This proposal is part of the Cluster “ Eddies and Upwelling: Major Factors in the Carbon Budget ofthe Southern Ocean”

DFG-Verfahren: Infrastruktur-Schwerpunktprogramme

term from 2011 to 2016