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Southwest Pacific Ocean and Climate Circulation Experiment

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SPICE Review

The Southwest Pacific Ocean Circulation and Climate Experiment (SPICE)

J. Geophys. Res., 2015 Journal LINK HERE

A. Ganachaud1, S. Cravatte1,2, A. Melet3,1, A. Schiller4, N. J. Holbrook5, B. M. Sloyan4, M. J. Widlansky6, M. Bowen7, J. Verron8, P. Wiles9, K. Ridgway4, P. Sutton10 J. Sprintall11, C. Steinberg12, G. Brassington13, W. Cai14, R. Davis11, F. Gasparin1,11, L. Gourdeau1, T. Hasegawa15, W. Kessler16, C. Maes1, K. Takahashi17, K. J. Richards6, U. Send11

The Southwest Pacific Ocean Circulation and Climate Experiment (SPICE) is an international research program under the auspices of CLIVAR. The key objectives are to understand the Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) dynamics, as well as their influence on regional and basin-scale climate patterns. South Pacific thermocline waters are transported in the westward flowing South Equatorial Current (SEC) toward Australia and Papua-New Guinea. On its way, the SEC encounters the numerous islands and straits of the Southwest Pacific and forms  boundary currents and jets that eventually redistribute water to the equator and high latitudes. The transit in the Coral, Solomon and Tasman Seas is of great importance to the climate system because changes in either the temperature or the amount of water arriving at the equator have the capability to modulate the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, while the southward transports influence the climate and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea. After seven years of substantial in situ oceanic observational and modeling efforts, our understanding of the region has much improved. We have a refined description of the SPCZ behavior, boundary currents, pathways and water mass transformation, including the previously undocumented Solomon Sea. The transports are large and vary substantially in a counter-intuitive way, with asymmetries and gating effects that depend on time scales. This paper provides a review of recent advancements, and discusses our current knowledge gaps and important emerging research directions. The Southwest Pacific Ocean Circulation and Climate Experiment (SPICE) is an international research program under the auspices of CLIVAR. The key objectives are to understand the Southwest Pacific Ocean circulation and the South Pacific Convergence Zone (SPCZ) dynamics, as well as their influence on regional and basin-scale climate patterns. South Pacific thermocline waters are transported in the westward flowing South Equatorial Current (SEC) toward Australia and Papua-New Guinea. On its way, the SEC encounters the numerous islands and straits of the Southwest Pacific and forms  boundary currents and jets that eventually redistribute water to the equator and high latitudes. The transit in the Coral, Solomon and Tasman Seas is of great importance to the climate system because changes in either the temperature or the amount of water arriving at the equator have the capability to modulate the El Nino-Southern Oscillation, while the southward transports influence the climate and biodiversity in the Tasman Sea.After seven years of substantial in situ oceanic observational and modeling efforts,our understanding of the region has much improved. We have a refined description of the SPCZ behavior, boundary currents, pathways and water mass transformation, including the previously undocumented Solomon Sea. The transports are large and vary substantially in a counter-intuitive way, with asymmetries and gating effects that depend on time scales.This paper provides a review of recent advancements, and discusses our current knowledge gaps and important emerging research directions.

 

1Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD), UMR5566-LEGOS, UPS (OMP-PCA), Toulouse, France
2IRD, UMR5566-LEGOS, BP A5, Nouméa, New Caledonia
3NOAA/GFDL, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA
4Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, CSIRO Wealth from Oceans National Research Flagship, Hobart, TAS, Australia
5Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia
6International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii
7School of Environment, University of Auckland, New Zealand
8LGGE, UMR 5183, CNRS, Universit ́e de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
9Pacific Island Global Ocean Observing System (PI-GOOS), Apia, Samoa
10National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Limited, Wellington, New Zealand
11Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, USA
12Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, QLD, Australia
13Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research, Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney, Australia
14CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, Aspendale, VIC, Australia
15Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yokosuka, Japan
16Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Seattle, WA, USA
17Instituto Geofis ́ıco del Peru ́, Lima, Peru ́, Peru