Seasonal Cycle of Sea Surface Salinity in the Angola Upwelling System
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Geophysical Research (JGR): Oceans. 2022, 127 (7), . 10.1029/2022JC018518
The seasonal cycle of sea surface salinity (SSS) along the Angolan coast is investigated using observations and a regional ocean model. The model reproduces the main characteristic of the seasonal cycle of SSS along the Angolan coast, such as the freshwater discharge signature off the Congo River plume and the low-salinity observed in February/March and October/November along the Angolan coast. The model also reproduces the two maxima of salinity in June/July and December/January. The analysis of the model salt budget reveals that the semi-annual cycle of SSS is controlled by the meridional advection of surface water, the vertical advection of subsurface water, and the mixing at the base of the mixed layer. The meridional advection is controlled by the Angola Current which brings low-salinity water from offshore region of the Congolese coast toward the south Angolan coast in February/March and October/November. The vertical advection contribution is modulated by the vertical stratification of salinity and not by vertical velocities which peak during the main Angolan upwelling season. The vertical stratification is due to the low-salinity intrusion at the Angolan coast that creates a strong vertical salinity gradient with low-salinity at the surface and high salinity at the subsurface.