19 Dec 2022
19 Dec 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Seasonal and ENSO-related ocean variability in the Panama Bight

Rafael R. Torres1, Estefanía Giraldo2, Cristian Muñoz2, Ana Caicedo2, Ismael Hernández-Carrasco3, and Alejandro Orfila3 Rafael R. Torres et al.
  • 1Grupo de Investigación en Geociencias GEO4, Departamento de Física y Geociencias, Universidad del Norte, km 5 vía Puerto Colombia, Barranquilla, Colombia
  • 2Dirección General Marítima de Colombia, Centro de Investigaciones Oceanográficas e Hidrográficas del Pacífico (DIMAR-CCCP), Vía El Morro, Capitanía de Puerto San Andrés de Tumaco, Nariño, Colombia
  • 3Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Esporles 07190, Mallorca, Spain

Abstract. In the Panama Bight, a reverse seasonal surface circulation coincides with a strong mean sea level variation, as observed from 27 years of Absolute Dynamic Topography (ADT) and the use of Self-Organizing Maps. From January to April, a cyclonic gyre dominates the basin circulation, forced by the Panama surface wind jet that also produce upwelling, reducing Sea Surface Temperature (SST) and increasing Sea Surface Salinity (SSS), causing an ADT decrease. From June to December, the Choco surface wind jet enhances SST, precipitation and river runoff, which reduces SSS causing an ADT rise, which forces a weak anticyclonic circulation. Interannual variability in the region is strongly affected by ENSO, however this climatic variability does not modify the seasonal circulation patterns in the Panama Bight. On the contrary, ENSO positive (negative) phase increases (decreases) SST and ADT in the Panama Bight, with a mean annual difference of 0.9 °C and 9.1 cm respectively between the two conditions, while its effect in SSS is small. However, as the strong seasonal SST, SSS and ADT ranges are up to 2.2 °C, 2.59 gr kg-1 and 28.5 cm, the seasonal signal dominates over interannual variations in the Bight.

Rafael R. Torres et al.

Status: open (until 01 Mar 2023)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-1397', Anonymous Referee #1, 26 Jan 2023 reply

Rafael R. Torres et al.

Rafael R. Torres et al.


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Short summary
A reverse seasonal ocean circulation in the Panama Bight has been assessed using 27 years of Absolute Dynamical Topography. The mean circulation in the Eastern Tropical Pacific (east of 100° W) is analyzed from the MDT and a Self Organizing Map analysis. Small differences are observed west of ~82° W. In the Panama Bight, MDT shows the cyclonic circulation when the Panama surface wind jet dominates the region. We assess ENSO effects on seasonal circulation.