Sea Surface Salinity Variability in Response to the Congo River Discharge
[26-Feb-2014] Schumann, G.J., Andreadis, K.M., Fararra, J., Moller, D.K., and Chao, Y.
Presented at the 2014 Ocean Sciences Meeting
The Congo River is the second largest river in the world (after Amazon) with an averaged discharge of 45,000 m3s-1 varying annually between 23,000 and 80,000 m3s-1. While oceanic response to the Amazon River discharge has been extensively studied, very little is known about the Congo River discharge and its impact on the ocean salinity and general circulation in the eastern equatorial Atlantic. Recent sea surface salinity measurements from the Aquarius satellite provide a unique opportunity to reveal the sea surface salinity variability in response to the Congo River discharge. Both the long-term climatology from the World Ocean Atlas and the vertical salinity profiles measured by the Argo floats during the recent decade are used to interpret the Aquarius data. While in situ measurements of the Congo River discharge are very limited, a hydrological model (driven by reanalysis atmospheric fields) is used to derive streamflow at the Congo River basin outlet. Both the river discharge and regional ocean circulation are used to describe the spatial and temporal variability of sea surface salinity variability as revealed by Aquarius.