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Article

Long-Term Trends and Interannual Variability of Wind Forcing, Surface Circulation, and Temperature around the Sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands

by 1,2,* and 1,2,3,4
1
Marine Research Institute, Department of Oceanography, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
2
Nansen-Tutu Centre for Marine Environmental Research, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
3
Oceans & Coasts Research, Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and the Environment, P.O. Box 52126, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
4
Bayworld Centre for Research and Education, 5 Riesling Road, Constantia, Cape Town 7806, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ana Nobre Silva and Cristina Ponte Lira
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(6), 1318; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14061318
Received: 31 January 2022 / Revised: 2 March 2022 / Accepted: 4 March 2022 / Published: 9 March 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing Application in Coastal Geomorphology and Processes)
In the Southern Ocean, the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands (PEIs) play a significant ecological role by hosting large populations of seasonally breeding marine mammals and seabirds, which are particularly sensitive to changes in the surrounding ocean environment. In order to better understand climate variability at the PEIs, this study used satellite and reanalysis data to examine the interannual variability and longer-term trends of Sea Surface Temperature (SST), wind forcing, and surface circulation. Long-term trends were mostly weak and statistically insignificant, possibly due to the restricted length of the data products. While seasonal fluctuations accounted for a substantial portion (50–70%) of SST variability, the strongest variance in wind speed, wind stress curl (WSC), and currents occurred at intra-annual time scales. At a period of about 1 year, SST and geostrophic current variability suggested some influence of the Southern Annular Mode, but correlations were weak and insignificant. Similarly, correlations with El Niño Southern Oscillation variability were also weak and mostly insignificant, probably due to strong local and regional modification of SST, wind, and current anomalies. Significant interannual and decadal-scale variability in SST, WSC, and geostrophic currents, strongest at periods of 3–4 and 7–8 years, corresponded with the variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave. At decadal time scales, there was a strong inverse relationship between SST and geostrophic currents and between SST and wind speed. Warmer-than-usual SST between 1990–2001 and 2009–2020 was related to weaker currents and wind, while cooler-than-usual periods during 1982–1990 and 2001–2009 were associated with relatively stronger winds and currents. Positioned directly in the path of passing atmospheric low-pressure systems and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the PEIs experience substantial local and regional atmospheric and oceanic variability at shorter temporal scales, which likely mutes longer-term variations that have been observed elsewhere in the Southern Ocean. View Full-Text
Keywords: Southern Ocean; climate change; satellite and reanalysis data; sea surface temperature; wind speed; wind stress curl; geostrophic and Ekman currents Southern Ocean; climate change; satellite and reanalysis data; sea surface temperature; wind speed; wind stress curl; geostrophic and Ekman currents
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MDPI and ACS Style

Toolsee, T.; Lamont, T. Long-Term Trends and Interannual Variability of Wind Forcing, Surface Circulation, and Temperature around the Sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands. Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 1318. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14061318

AMA Style

Toolsee T, Lamont T. Long-Term Trends and Interannual Variability of Wind Forcing, Surface Circulation, and Temperature around the Sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands. Remote Sensing. 2022; 14(6):1318. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14061318

Chicago/Turabian Style

Toolsee, Tesha, and Tarron Lamont. 2022. "Long-Term Trends and Interannual Variability of Wind Forcing, Surface Circulation, and Temperature around the Sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands" Remote Sensing 14, no. 6: 1318. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14061318

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