Articles | Volume 20, issue 2
Research article
19 Apr 2024
Research article |  | 19 Apr 2024

The Southern Ocean deep mixing band emerges from a competition between winter buoyancy loss and upper stratification strength

Romain Caneill, Fabien Roquet, and Jonas Nycander

Data sets

Data sets to reproduce all figures (note that you should refer to original licences for licences of each products and outputs) Romain Caneill

Synopsis of the ECCO central production global ocean and sea-ice state estimate (version 4 release 4) ECCO Consortium et al.

Interactive computing environment

Code to reproduce all figures Romain Caneill

Short summary
In winter, heat loss increases density at the surface of the Southern Ocean. This increase in density creates a mixed layer deeper than 250 m only in a narrow deep mixing band (DMB) located around 50° S. North of the DMB, the stratification is too strong to be eroded, so mixed layers are shallower. The density of cold water is almost not impacted by temperature changes. Thus, heat loss does not significantly increase the density south of the DMB, so no deep mixed layers are produced.