Monitoring the integrated deep meridional flow in the tropical North Atlantic: Long-term performance of a geostrophic array
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As a component of the meridional overturning variability experiment in the tropical North Atlantic, a four-year-long time series of meridional transport of North Atlantic deep water has been obtained from moored end point measurements of density and bottom pressure. This study presents a quality assessment of the measurement elements. Rigorous pre- and post- deployment in situ calibration of the density sensors and subsequent data processing establish an accuracy of O(1.5 Sv) in internal transport in the 1200-5000 dbar range at subinertial time scales. A similar accuracy is reached in the bottom pressure-derived external transport fluctuations. However, for pressure, variability with periods longer than a deployment’s duration (presently about one year) is not measurable. This effect is demonstrated using numerical simulations and a possible solution for detecting long-term external transport changes is presented. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.