Upwelling in the Ocean Basins North of the ACC: 1. On the Upwelling Exposed by the Surface Distribution of Δ14C

J. R. Toggweiler, Ellen R.M. Druffel, Robert M. Key, Eric D. Galbraith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

15 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The upwelling associated with the ocean's overturning circulation is hard to observe directly. Here, a large data set of surface Δ14C measurements is compiled in order to show where deep water is brought back up to the surface in the ocean basins north of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). Maps constructed from the data set show that low-Δ14C deep water from the ACC is drawn up to the surface in or near the upwelling zones off Northwest Africa and Namibia in the Atlantic, off Costa Rica and Peru in the Pacific, and in the northern Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean. Deep water also seems to be reaching the surface in the subarctic Pacific gyre near the Kamchatka Peninsula. The low-Δ14C water drawn up to the surface in the upwelling zones is also shown to spread across the ocean basins. It is easily seen, for example, in the western Atlantic off Florida and in the western Pacific off New Guinea and Palau. The spreading allows one to estimate the volumes of upwelling, which, it turns out, are similar to the volumes of large-scale upwelling derived from inverse box models. This means that very large volumes of cool subsurface water are reaching the surface in and near the upwelling zones—much larger volumes than would be expected from the local winds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2591-2608
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • ocean circulation
  • overturning circulation
  • radiocarbon
  • upwelling


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