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The Weddell Gyre, Southern Ocean: Present knowledge and future challenges

The Weddell Gyre, Southern Ocean: Present knowledge and future challenges
The Weddell Gyre, Southern Ocean: Present knowledge and future challenges

The Weddell Gyre (WG) is one of the main oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which plays an influential role in global ocean circulation as well as gas exchange with the atmosphere. We review the state-of-the art knowledge concerning the WG from an interdisciplinary perspective, uncovering critical aspects needed to understand this system's role in shaping the future evolution of oceanic heat and carbon uptake over the next decades. The main limitations in our knowledge are related to the conditions in this extreme and remote environment, where the polar night, very low air temperatures, and presence of sea ice year-round hamper field and remotely sensed measurements. We highlight the importance of winter and under-ice conditions in the southern WG, the role that new technology will play to overcome present-day sampling limitations, the importance of the WG connectivity to the low-latitude oceans and atmosphere, and the expected intensification of the WG circulation as the westerly winds intensify. Greater international cooperation is needed to define key sampling locations that can be visited by any research vessel in the region. Existing transects sampled since the 1980s along the Prime Meridian and along an East-West section at ~62°S should be maintained with regularity to provide answers to the relevant questions. This approach will provide long-term data to determine trends and will improve representation of processes for regional, Antarctic-wide, and global modeling efforts—thereby enhancing predictions of the WG in global ocean circulation and climate.

Antarctica, long-termsampling, oceanography, regional models, Weddell Gyre, Weddell Sea
8755-1209
Vernet, M.
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Geibert, W.
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Hoppema, M.
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Brown, P. J.
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Haas, C.
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Hellmer, H. H.
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Jokat, W.
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Jullion, L.
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Mazloff, M.
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Bakker, D. C.E.
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Brearley, J. A.
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Croot, P.
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Hattermann, T.
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Hauck, J.
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Hillenbrand, C. D.
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Hoppe, C. J.M.
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Huhn, O.
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Koch, B. P.
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Lechtenfeld, O. J.
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Meredith, M. P.
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Naveira Garabato, A. C.
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Nöthig, E. M.
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Peeken, I.
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Rutgers van der Loeff, M. M.
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Schmidtko, S.
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Schröder, M.
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Strass, V. H.
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Torres-Valdés, S.
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Verdy, A.
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Vernet, M.
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Geibert, W.
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Hoppema, M.
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Brown, P. J.
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Haas, C.
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Hellmer, H. H.
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Jokat, W.
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Jullion, L.
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Mazloff, M.
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Bakker, D. C.E.
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Brearley, J. A.
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Croot, P.
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Hattermann, T.
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Hauck, J.
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Hillenbrand, C. D.
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Hoppe, C. J.M.
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Huhn, O.
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Koch, B. P.
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Lechtenfeld, O. J.
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Meredith, M. P.
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Naveira Garabato, A. C.
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Nöthig, E. M.
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Peeken, I.
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Rutgers van der Loeff, M. M.
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Schmidtko, S.
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Schröder, M.
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Strass, V. H.
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Torres-Valdés, S.
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Verdy, A.
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Vernet, M., Geibert, W., Hoppema, M., Brown, P. J., Haas, C., Hellmer, H. H., Jokat, W., Jullion, L., Mazloff, M., Bakker, D. C.E., Brearley, J. A., Croot, P., Hattermann, T., Hauck, J., Hillenbrand, C. D., Hoppe, C. J.M., Huhn, O., Koch, B. P., Lechtenfeld, O. J., Meredith, M. P., Naveira Garabato, A. C., Nöthig, E. M., Peeken, I., Rutgers van der Loeff, M. M., Schmidtko, S., Schröder, M., Strass, V. H., Torres-Valdés, S. and Verdy, A. (2019) The Weddell Gyre, Southern Ocean: Present knowledge and future challenges. Reviews of Geophysics. (doi:10.1029/2018RG000604).

Record type: Review

Abstract

The Weddell Gyre (WG) is one of the main oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which plays an influential role in global ocean circulation as well as gas exchange with the atmosphere. We review the state-of-the art knowledge concerning the WG from an interdisciplinary perspective, uncovering critical aspects needed to understand this system's role in shaping the future evolution of oceanic heat and carbon uptake over the next decades. The main limitations in our knowledge are related to the conditions in this extreme and remote environment, where the polar night, very low air temperatures, and presence of sea ice year-round hamper field and remotely sensed measurements. We highlight the importance of winter and under-ice conditions in the southern WG, the role that new technology will play to overcome present-day sampling limitations, the importance of the WG connectivity to the low-latitude oceans and atmosphere, and the expected intensification of the WG circulation as the westerly winds intensify. Greater international cooperation is needed to define key sampling locations that can be visited by any research vessel in the region. Existing transects sampled since the 1980s along the Prime Meridian and along an East-West section at ~62°S should be maintained with regularity to provide answers to the relevant questions. This approach will provide long-term data to determine trends and will improve representation of processes for regional, Antarctic-wide, and global modeling efforts—thereby enhancing predictions of the WG in global ocean circulation and climate.

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Vernet_et_al-2019-Reviews_of_Geophysics - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 April 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 May 2019
Published date: 4 July 2019
Keywords: Antarctica, long-termsampling, oceanography, regional models, Weddell Gyre, Weddell Sea

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 432865
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/432865
ISSN: 8755-1209
PURE UUID: 7e5db71d-9262-4595-bd90-7fd41db6bfd8

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Date deposited: 31 Jul 2019 16:30
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 00:24

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Contributors

Author: M. Vernet
Author: W. Geibert
Author: M. Hoppema
Author: P. J. Brown
Author: C. Haas
Author: H. H. Hellmer
Author: W. Jokat
Author: L. Jullion
Author: M. Mazloff
Author: D. C.E. Bakker
Author: J. A. Brearley
Author: P. Croot
Author: T. Hattermann
Author: J. Hauck
Author: C. D. Hillenbrand
Author: C. J.M. Hoppe
Author: O. Huhn
Author: B. P. Koch
Author: O. J. Lechtenfeld
Author: M. P. Meredith
Author: E. M. Nöthig
Author: I. Peeken
Author: M. M. Rutgers van der Loeff
Author: S. Schmidtko
Author: M. Schröder
Author: V. H. Strass
Author: S. Torres-Valdés
Author: A. Verdy

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