The interdisciplinary marine system of the Amundsen Sea, Southern Ocean: recent advances and the need for sustained observations
The Southern Ocean exerts a profound influence on the functioning of the Earth System, in part because its location and unique bathymetric configuration enable direct linkages to the other major ocean basins (Ganachaud and Wunsch, 2000 and Lumpkin and Speer, 2007). It is the site of the world׳s largest current system, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC), which transfers waters and climatically/ecologically-important tracers between the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans (Rintoul et al., 2001). In addition to the strong horizontal connectivity, the ACC is also characterized by a vigorous overturning circulation, which upwells warm, nutrient-rich waters from intermediate depth to the surface, where they are modified by interactions with the atmosphere and cryosphere to form new water masses, some of which are lighter and others more dense (Marshall and Speer, 2012). This overturning circulation structures the Southern Ocean both horizontally and vertically, dictates the levels of its communication with the rest of the global ocean, and is a fundamental control on the sequestration of carbon from the atmosphere into the ocean interior (Sallée et al., 2012). In some locations, the upwelled waters can intrude onto the Antarctic shelves, supplying heat and nutrients to the shallower regions. This is believed to be especially effective in west Antarctica, where the southern edge of the ACC moves close to the shelf break (Martinson, 2011, Orsi et al., 1995 and Thoma et al., 2008).
Authors: Meredith, Michael P. ORCID record for Michael P. Meredith, Ducklow, Hugh W., Schofield, Oscar, Wahlin, Anna, Newman, Louise, Lee, SangHoon