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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 12, issue 1 | Copyright
Ocean Sci., 12, 1-7, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-12-1-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 14 Jan 2016

Research article | 14 Jan 2016

Spatial scales of temperature and salinity variability estimated from Argo observations

F. Ninove1,2, P.-Y. Le Traon1,2, E. Remy2, and S. Guinehut3 F. Ninove et al.
  • 1Ifremer, Technopole Brest Iroise, Z.I. de la Pointe du Diable, 29280 Plouzané, France
  • 2Mercator Ocean, Parc technologique du Canal, 8–10 rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France
  • 3CLS, Parc Technologique du Canal, 8–10 rue Hermès, 31520 Ramonville-Saint-Agne, France

Abstract. Argo observations from 2005 to 2013 are used to characterize spatial scales of temperature and salinity variations from the surface down to 1300m. Simulations are first performed to analyze the sensitivity of results to Argo sampling; they show that several years of Argo observations are required to estimate spatial scales of ocean variability over 20° × 20° boxes. Spatial scales are then computed over several large-scale areas. Zonal and meridional spatial scales (Lx and Ly which are zero crossing of covariance functions) vary as expected with latitudes. Scales are of about 100km at high latitudes and more of 700km in the Indian and Pacific equatorial–tropical regions. Zonal and meridional scales are similar except in tropical–equatorial regions where zonal scales are much larger (by a factor of 2 to 3) than meridional scales. Spatial scales are the largest close to the surface and have a general tendency for temperature to increase in deeper layers. There are significant differences between temperature and salinity scales, in particular, in the deep ocean. Results are consistent with previous studies based on sparse in situ observations or satellite altimetry. They provide, however, for the first time a global description of temperature and salinity scales of variability and a characterization of their variations according to depths.

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Argo floats are one of the main components of the in situ observation network in the ocean. Nowadays, more than 3500 profiling floats are sampling the world ocean. In this study, they are used to characterize spatial scales of temperature and salinity variations from the surface down to 1500m. The scales appear to be anisotropic and vary from about 100km at high latitudes to 700km in the Indian and Pacific equatorial and tropical regions.
Argo floats are one of the main components of the in situ observation network in the ocean....
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