Seasonal variability of sea surface Delta C-14 in the equatorial Pacific in an ocean circulation model

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
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Aug 15
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The object of this modeling study is to identify the physical mechanisms responsible for seasonal variability in sea surface Delta(14)C for the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Analyses of Delta(14)C in corals from Guam, Galapagos, Fanning, and Canton reveal seasonal variability between 30 and 50 per mil during the 1970s and early 1980s. Given that this variability occurs on seasonal timescales, whereas air-sea isotopic equilibration occurs on a timescale of 5 to 10 years, the variability must be due to seasonal variability in the physical circulation of the ocean. We use the primitive equation ocean circulation model of Gent and Cane [1989], along with the hybrid mixed layer model of Chen et al. [1994a], to study the dynamical mechanisms responsible. Upwelling in the eastern equatorial Pacific brings up Delta(14)C-depleted waters, and air-sea exchange creates high Delta(14)C in the western equatorial Pacific, establishing horizontal gradients in sea surface Delta(14)C. Seasonally varying lateral advection, acting on these gradients, is the dominant mechanism for Delta(14)C variability in the equatorial Pacific. In addition to the runs which were forced with seasonally varying winds, a run which used interannual winds between 1971 and 1985 was performed. The substantial interannual Delta(14)C variability present in this run is associated with advective anomalies in the equatorial waveguide.


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