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AMT4OceanSatFlux: Entering the South Atlantic Tropical Convergence Zone

4 Dec 2019, 08:51 UTC
AMT4OceanSatFlux: Entering the South Atlantic Tropical Convergence Zone
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An abrupt awakening!! Cloudy skies, rain and then back into a storm. We had officially navigated out of the Tropics and into the Southern Ocean. The water temperature had dropped from 24 to 17 degrees Celsius. We had entered the South Subtropical Convergence Zone!! From the deep blue waters between 10 and 35° South, we had crossed over the boundary between the South Atlantic Gyre and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current into green waters. The Subtropical Convergence (STC) is the frontal zone which separates the sub-Antarctic waters of the West Wind Drift from the subtropical waters to the north. In this region there is a convergence, or ‘piling’ up of water, from the current in the surface mixed layer that becomes sub-ducted into the oceanic thermocline. These dynamic processes combine to form strong temperature gradients and south of the front these water masses become highly mixed, bringing up nutrients from deep. As nutrient rich water is mixed upwards into the sunlit upper ocean, spectacular phytoplankton blooms form.
Spectacular phytoplankton blooms in The South Subtropical Convergence Zone seen from this VIIRS true-colour image from 18 November 2019 (Satellite Image courtesy of NASA).
Large phytoplankton blooms attract an abundance of fish that feed ...

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