Antarctic Science


Antarctic Peninsula sea levels: a real-time system for monitoring Drake Passage transport

P.L. Woodworth a1c1, C.W. Hughes a1, D.L. Blackman a1, V.N. Stepanov a1, S.J. Holgate a1, P.R. Foden a1, J.P. Pugh a1, S. Mack a1, G.W. Hargreaves a1, M.P. Meredith a2, G. Milinevsky a3 and J.J. Fierro Contreras a4
a1 Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool L3 5DA, UK
a2 British Antarctic Survey, NERC, High Cross, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0ET, UK
a3 National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine, 16, Tarasa Shevchenka blvd., 01601 Kyiv, Ukraine
a4 Servicio Hidrografico y Oceanografico, Errazuriz 254, Playa Ancha City, Valparaiso, Chile

Article author query
woodworth pl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hughes cw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
blackman dl   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
stepanov vn   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
holgate sj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
foden pr   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
pugh jp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mack s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
hargreaves gw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
meredith mp   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
milinevsky g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
contreras jjf   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Sub-surface pressure (SSP) data from tide gauges at three bases on the Pacific coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, together with SSP information from a bottom pressure recorder deployed on the south side of the Drake Passage, have been used to study the relationships between SSP, Drake Passage transport, and the strength of Southern Ocean zonal winds as represented by the Southern Annular Mode. High correlations were obtained between all parameters, confirming results obtained previously with independent data sets, and demonstrating the value of information from the permanent Rothera base, the southern-most site considered. These are important findings with regard to the design, installation and maintenance of observation networks in Antarctica. In particular, they provide the necessary justification for Antarctic Peninsula tide gauge infrastructure investment in the lead up to International Polar Year. Data delivery from Rothera and Vernadsky is currently being improved and should soon enable the first near real-time system for monitoring Drake Passage transport variability on intraseasonal timescales, an essential component of a Southern Ocean Observing System.

(Received December 20 2005)
(Accepted April 10 2006)

Key Words: bottom pressure recorders; International Polar Year; ocean circulation variability; Southern Annular Mode; tide gauges.