Rhines Peter B.
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ArticleSpreading of Denmark Strait overflow water in the western subpolar North Atlantic : insights from eddy-resolving simulations with a passive tracer(American Meteorological Society, 2015-12) Xu, Xiaobiao ; Rhines, Peter B. ; Chassignet, Eric P. ; Schmitz, William J.The oceanic deep circulation is shared between concentrated deep western boundary currents (DWBCs) and broader interior pathways, a process that is sensitive to seafloor topography. This study investigates the spreading and deepening of Denmark Strait overflow water (DSOW) in the western subpolar North Atlantic using two ° eddy-resolving Atlantic simulations, including a passive tracer injected into the DSOW. The deepest layers of DSOW transit from a narrow DWBC in the southern Irminger Sea into widespread westward flow across the central Labrador Sea, which remerges along the Labrador coast. This abyssal circulation, in contrast to the upper levels of overflow water that remain as a boundary current, blankets the deep Labrador Sea with DSOW. Farther downstream after being steered around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, DSOW again leaves the boundary, forming cyclonic recirculation cells in the deep Newfoundland basin. The deep recirculation, mostly driven by the meandering pathway of the upper North Atlantic Current, leads to accumulation of tracer offshore of Orphan Knoll, precisely where a local maximum of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) inventory is observed. At Flemish Cap, eddy fluxes carry ~20% of the tracer transport from the boundary current into the interior. Potential vorticity is conserved as the flow of DSOW broadens at the transition from steep to less steep continental rise into the Labrador Sea, while around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, potential vorticity is not conserved and the DSOW deepens significantly.
ArticleObservations of seasonal subduction at the Iceland-Faroe Front(John Wiley & Sons, 2016-06-12) Beaird, Nicholas ; Rhines, Peter B. ; Eriksen, Charles C.The polar front in the North Atlantic is bound to the ridge between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, where about one-half of the northward transport of warm Atlantic Water into the Nordic Seas occurs, as well as about one sixth of the equatorward dense overflow. We find a low salinity water mass at the surface of the Iceland-Faroe Front (IFF), which in wintertime subducts along outcropping isopycnals and is found in much modified form on the Atlantic side of the Iceland-Faroe Ridge (IFR) crest. The features found on the Atlantic side of the crest at depth have temperature and salinity characteristics which are clearly traceable to the surface outcrop of the IFF. The presence of coherent low salinity layers on the Atlantic side of the IFR crest has not been previously reported. Warm waters above the IFR primarily feed the Faroe Current, and injection of a low salinity water mass may play an early role in the water mass transformation taking place in the Nordic Seas. The seasonality of the intrusive features suggests a link between winter convection, mixed layer instability and deep frontal subduction. These low salinity anomalies (as well as a low oxygen water mass from the Iceland Basin) can be used as tracers of the intermediate circulation over the IFR.