Physical Oceanography, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2008
SEASONAL AND INTERANNUAL VARIABILITY OF THE CHARACTERISTICS
OF SCOTIA-SEA FRONT BASED ON THE SATELLITE MEASUREMENTS
OF SEA-SURFACE TEMPERATURE
Yu. V. Artamonov, P. D. Lomakin, and E. A. Skripaleva
We determine the characteristic features of the space structure of the Scotia-Sea Front and study
the variations of its characteristics on the seasonal and interannual scales. It is shown that, in the
climatic seasonal cycle, the Scotia-Sea Front is intensified in the warm period of the year when
the temperature contrast between the cold waters formed as a result of thawing of ice and warmer
waters transported by the South Branch of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current becomes more pro-
nounced. The maximum seasonal variations of the intensity of this front are observed in the re-
gion of minimum intraannual displacements of the boundary of drift ice. The interannual varia-
tions of the characteristics of the front are observed in the form anomalous variations of its inten-
sity and latitudinal displacements. A significant relationship is established between the interan-
nual anomalies of the characteristics of the front and the areas of warm tropical waters in the
Pacific Ocean caused by the events of El Niño.
In the Antarctic sector of the Atlantic Ocean, there exists a boundary between relatively warm waters trans-
ported by the South Branch of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (SB ACC) on the one hand and colder waters
of the Weddell Sea and coastal waters of the of the South Orkney and South Shetland Archipelagos on the other
hand. Different parts of this boundary have different names. Thus, in the Drake Passage, over the continental
margin of the South Shetland Islands, it is usually called the Boundary of Continental Waters (BCW) . To the
east of the Elephant Island, it is called the Scotia-Sea Front (SSF)  or the Secondary Frontal Zone [2, 3]. In
, this frontal boundary is called the Front of the South Branch of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Accord-
ing to [5–7], the Scotia-Sea Front is the northern boundary of the zone of confluence of waters of the Weddell
and Scotia Seas (ZCWS) separating relatively warm waters of the Antarctic zone from vertically homogeneous
colder waters of the ZCWS. The south boundary of ZCWS is called the Weddell-Sea Front (WSF).
Despite the elevated interest in the Scotia-Sea Front caused by its high significance for fishery, the seasonal
variability of its characteristics is investigated quite poorly. This is explained by the fact that the earlier works
[1–3, 6, 7] were based either on the data of episodic hydrological measurements or on the arrays of hydrological
data characterized by the extremely nonuniform distribution of the data of observations over the year and almost
complete absence of data for the cold season. The appearance of satellite data with good space and time resolu-
tion strongly increased the possibilities of oceanologists in the investigation of the physical processes running in
the upper layer of the ocean. At present, the number of studies aimed at the description the behavior of oceanic
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
66–76, January–February, 2008. Original article submitted July 21,
2006; revision submitted November 6, 2006.
52 0928-5105/08/1801–0052 © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.