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Journal Articles Communications Earth & Environment Year : 2021

Submesoscale flows impact Agulhas leakage in ocean simulations

René Schubert
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Arne Biastoch
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Abstract Agulhas leakage, the warm and salty inflow of Indian Ocean water into the Atlantic Ocean, is of importance for the climate-relevant Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. South of Africa, the eastward turning Agulhas Current sheds Agulhas rings, cyclones and filaments of order 100 km that carry the Indian Ocean water into the Cape Basin and further into the Atlantic. Here, we show that the resolution of submesoscale flows of order 10 km in an ocean model leads to 40 % more Agulhas leakage and more realistic Cape Basin water-masses compared to a parallel non-submesoscale resolving simulation. Moreover, we show that submesoscale flows strengthen shear-edge eddies and in consequence lee cyclones at the northern edge of the Agulhas Current, as well as the leakage pathway in the region of the filaments that takes place outside of mesoscale eddies. This indicates that the increase in leakage can be attributed to stronger Agulhas filaments, when submesoscale flows are resolved.
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hal-03387854 , version 1 (20-10-2021)



René Schubert, Jonathan Gula, Arne Biastoch. Submesoscale flows impact Agulhas leakage in ocean simulations. Communications Earth & Environment, 2021, 2 (1), pp.Article number: 197. ⟨10.1038/s43247-021-00271-y⟩. ⟨hal-03387854⟩
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