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Journal Articles Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans Year : 2013

Mean circulation of the Coral Sea

Abstract

The mean absolute geostrophic circulation of the Coral Sea is constructed from climatological hydrographic data referenced to a 1000 m velocity field derived from Argo float drift. Two branches of the South Equatorial Current (SEC) enter the Coral Sea between New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands: the broad, upper thermocline North Vanuatu Jet (NVJ), and the narrow North Caledonian Jet (NCJ) extending to at least 1500 m. Most of this incoming flow leaves to the Solomon Sea. Four distinct pathways through the Coral Sea are traced by their water properties: (1) The NCJ crosses the Sea to the coast of Australia and turns north at densities sigma 25-27.4 as the main source of the Gulf of Papua (GPC) western boundary current, eventually feeding the New Guinea Coastal Undercurrent; (2) part of the shallow NVJ turns into the Solomon Sea in midbasin, carrying high-salinity water above sigma 25.5; (3) another part of the NVJ continues to Australia, then turns north to join the GPC, extending it to the surface; (4) a shallow finger of NVJ water, traced by low oxygen above sigma 25, turns south along the coast, beginning the East Australian Current (EAC) at 15 degrees S. Total transport from the Coral to the Tasman Sea is small and shallow; instead, most of the EAC is fed from south of New Caledonia, consistent with the Island Rule. However, large transport fractions occur in narrow jets close to coastlines and reefs and are not well sampled, precluding a quantitative estimate of meridional redistribution of the incoming SEC.
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Dates and versions

hal-00996351 , version 1 (26-08-2014)

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W. S. Kessler, S. Cravatte. Mean circulation of the Coral Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, 2013, 118 (12), pp.6385-6410. ⟨10.1002/2013jc009117⟩. ⟨hal-00996351⟩
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