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A novel analysis is performed utilizing cross-track kinetic energy (CKE) computed from along-track sea surface height anomalies. The midpoint of enhanced kinetic energy averaged over 3-year periods from 1993 to 2016 is determined across the Southern Ocean and examined to detect shifts in frontal positions, based on previous observations that kinetic energy is high around fronts in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current system due to jet instabilities. It is demonstrated that although the CKE does not represent the full eddy kinetic energy (computed from crossovers), the shape of the enhanced regions along ground tracks is the same, and CKE has a much finer spatial sampling of 6.9 km. Results indicate no significant shift in the front positions across the Southern Ocean, on average, although there are some localized, large movements. This is consistent with other studies utilizing sea surface temperature gradients, the latitude of mean transport, and the probability of jet occurrence, but is inconsistent with studies utilizing the movement of contours of dynamic topography.

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Ocean Science, v. 14, issue 1, p. 105-116

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