Widespread freshening (trend of –0.01 per decade, significant at 95% confidence, from the 1980s to 2000s) of the upper 1000 m of the Southern Ocean was inferred by taking differences between modern data (mostly Argo) and a long-term climatology along mean streamlines (Böning et al., 2008). Decadal variability, although notable, does not overwhelm this trend (Böning et al., 2008). Both a southward shift of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and water-mass changes contribute to the observed trends during the period 1992–2009 (Meijers et al., 2011). The zonally averaged freshwater content for each ocean and the world (Figure 3.5) shows this significant Southern Ocean freshening, which exceeds other regional trends and is present in each basin (Indian, Atlantic and Pacific, Figure 3.9).

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