Antarctic Peninsula sea levels: A real-time system for monitoring Drake Passage transport
Sub-surface pressure (SSP) data from tide gauges at three bases on the Pacific coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, together with SSP information from a bottom pressure recorder deployed on the south side of the Drake Passage, have been used to study the relationships between SSP, Drake Passage transport, and the strength of Southern Ocean zonal winds as represented by the Southern Annular Mode. High correlations were obtained between all parameters, confirming results obtained previously with independent data sets, and demonstrating the value of information from the permanent Rothera base, the southern-most site considered. These are important findings with regard to the design, installation and maintenance of observation networks in Antarctica. In particular, they provide the necessary justification for Antarctic Peninsula tide gauge infrastructure investment in the lead up to International Polar Year. Data delivery from Rothera and Vernadsky is currently being improved and should soon enable the first near real-time system for monitoring Drake Passage transport variability on intraseasonal timescales, an essential component of a Southern Ocean Observing System.