The Southern Ocean stretching from the partly ice-covered continental shelves to the northern fringe of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is a key region for water mass formation and the vertical and lateral exchange of heat, carbon and nutrients. Understanding and quantifying its role as a large sink of heat and anthropogenic carbon,
as a driver of ice-shelf melt, and as part of the global overturning circulation is associated with great uncertainties. To reduce these uncertainties, understanding the physical and biogeochemical processes
underlying Southern Ocean internal variability, its interaction with ice-shelves, icebergs, and sea ice, and its response to external forcing is crucial. Recent advances in observational capabilities, such as autonomous
floats, gliders, and satellite systems, as well as numerical models at unprecedented resolution and complexity, are providing a deeper insight into the three-dimensional patterns of Southern Ocean processes and their
sensitivity to climate change. This session will discuss the current state of knowledge and novel findings concerning the role of the Southern Ocean in past, present and future climates, including its mixing and mesoscale
processes, water mass formation, ice-ocean and ocean-topography interactions, biogeochemical cycling, pathways of upwelling and subduction, water mass exchanges with lower latitudes, and ocean-atmosphere interactions.
Solicited speaker: Corinne LeQuéré