The worldwide deployment of Argo floats has enabled much more detailed studies of global and regional seas over the last decade. Here, the seasonal variability of the mixed layer depth (MLD) within the Coral Sea was examined with CTD profiles from Argo floats. Multiple threshold values for both temperature and density have been employed to determine the most suitable threshold values for the Coral Sea. A threshold value of 0.04 kg/m3 for density and 0.2°C for temperature appear the most fitting for this region. Although MLD and isothermal layer depth (ILD) coincide quite well in most cases, the relatively common presence of temporary, non-seasonal barrier layers induces an ILD that is significantly deeper than the MLD. Consequently, an MLD estimation based on density is more appropriate. A distinct seasonality in the MLD is evident throughout the Coral Sea, but is generally more pronounced in higher southern latitudes (20-30°S). Salinity inversions are rare and mainly occur in the south-eastern Coral Sea, while barrier layers are more commonly associated with the north-eastern Coral Sea, a region characterised by high rainfall. The significance of regional currents is evident in the north-western Coral Sea, where temperature and ocean heat content is relatively low due to a northward moving boundary current. Shallow bathymetry, in turn, is linked to the absence of Argo data on the continental shelf and in the central Coral Sea.
Jaffrés, J. B. D. (2013). Mixed Layer Depth Seasonality within the Coral Sea Based on Argo Data. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0060985