Comparing the steric height in the Northern Atlantic with satellite altimetry
Abstract. Anomalies of dynamic height derived from an analysis of Argo profiling buoys data are analysed to assess the relative roles of contributions from temperature and salinity over the North Atlantic for the period of 1999–2004. They are compared with dynamic topography anomalies based on TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason altimetry. It is shown that the halosteric contribution to the anomalies of dynamic height is comparable in magnitude to the thermosteric one over the period analyzed. Taking both salinity and temperature into account improves the agreement between zonally averaged trends in the satellite dynamic topography and dynamic height increasing the correlation between them to 0.73 from 0.63 when only temperature variability is taken into account. The implication of this result is that the salinity contribution cannot be neglected in the North Atlantic and that one cannot rely on estimating the thermosteric part by anomalies in the sea surface dynamic topography derived from the satellite altimetry.