Abyssal θ-S Observations at Hawaii Ocean Time-series Station ALOHA

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Fernando Santiago-Mandujano, Roger Lukas, Cameron Fumar, Daniel McCoy, Robert Walter Deppe, Joseph Gum, Jefrey Snyder, Brian Chee, Bruce M Howe, James T Potemra and Frederick K Duennebier, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI, United States
Abyssal θ-S variations observed since June 2011 by the ALOHA Cabled Observatory (ACO) reveal a potential temperature range of 0.025°C, and a salinity range of more than 0.0025 g kg-1. The very large temperature range is associated with episodic cold events (Lukas et al.2001; Alford et al. 2011). The salinity range, while not large in absolute terms, is an order of magnitude larger than the precision of the Sea-Bird Microcat. The absolute salinity is calibrated against simultaneous Hawaii Ocean Time-series (HOT) full-depth CTD profiles that have an accuracy of ~10-3 g kg-1. A slow drift of the SBE-37 conductivity sensor is seen, along with a sudden offset that may have been caused by a nearby glass ball implosion.

θ-S variations are dominated by changes in density that are associated with dynamic processes. Large cooling events are associated with increases of salinity ultimately deriving from the neighboring Maui Deep. The slopes of these excursions in θ-S space are consistent with the slopes of HOT CTD depth profiles, suggesting that these are vertical changes due either to gravity currents associated with cold, salty overflow events from the Maui Deep, or to internal seiches within the Kauai Deep.

θ-S variations that are nearly isopycnal are also seen during the slow recovery from a major cooling event in 2011. This may be due to diapycnal mixing with fresher waters above the controlling sill depth. It cannot be ruled out that some apparent salinity changes may be associated with sediment resuspension events, with subsequent deviations from the PSS-78 empirical relationship between conductivity, salinity, temperature and pressure.

ADCP records show large vacillations of along- and cross-isobath flow. Large vertical current variations are measured that are correlated with horizontal flows, likely due to the bottom slope, even after minimizing correlations to account for the unknown orientation of the ADCP.

The primary conclusion is that abyssal dynamics preclude the use of a time-invariant θ-S relationship for calibrating instantaneous CTD profiles.