Østerhus Svein

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  • Article
    Liquid freshwater transport estimates from the East Greenland Current based on continuous measurements north of Denmark Strait
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-01-10) de Steur, Laura ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Macrander, Andreas ; Våge, Kjetil ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; Jónsson, Steingrímur ; Østerhus, Svein ; Valdimarsson, Héðinn
    Liquid freshwater transports of the shelfbreak East Greenland Current (EGC) and the separated EGC are determined from mooring records from the Kögur section north of Denmark Strait between August 2011 and July 2012. The 11 month mean freshwater transport (FWT), relative to a salinity of 34.8, was 65 ± 11 mSv to the south. Approximately 70% of this was associated with the shelfbreak EGC and the remaining 30% with the separated EGC. Very large southward FWT ranging from 160 mSv to 120 mSv was observed from September to mid-October 2011 and was foremost due to anomalously low upper-layer salinities. The FWT may, however, be underestimated by approximately 5 mSv due to sampling biases in the upper ocean. The FWT on the Greenland shelf was estimated using additional inshore moorings deployed from 2012 to 2014. While the annual mean ranged from nearly zero during the first year to 18 mSv to the south during the second year, synoptically the FWT on the shelf can be significant. Furthermore, an anomalous event in autumn 2011 caused the shelfbreak EGC to reverse, leading to a large reduction in FWT. This reversed circulation was due to the passage of a large, 100 km wide anticyclone originating upstream from the shelfbreak. The late summer FWT of −131 mSv is 150% larger than earlier estimates based on sections in the late-1990s and early-2000s. This increase is likely the result of enhanced freshwater flux from the Arctic Ocean to the Nordic Seas during the early 2010s.
  • Preprint
    Upstream sources of the Denmark Strait Overflow : observations from a high-resolution mooring array
    ( 2016-02-19) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Valdimarsson, Héðinn ; Våge, Kjetil ; de Steur, Laura ; Richards, Clark G. ; Bahr, Frank B. ; Torres, Daniel J. ; Børve, Eli ; Jonsson, Steingrimur ; Macrander, Andreas ; Østerhus, Svein ; Håvik, Lisbeth ; Hattermann, Tore
    We present the first results from a densely instrumented mooring array upstream of the Denmark Strait sill, extending from the Iceland shelfbreak to the Greenland shelf. The array was deployed from September 2011 to July 2012, and captured the vast majority of overflow water denser than 27.8 kgm-3 approaching the sill. The mean transport of overflow water over the length of the deployment was 3.54 ± 0.16 Sv. Of this, 0.58 Sv originated from below sill depth, revealing that aspiration takes place in Denmark Strait. We confirm the presence of two main sources of overflow water: one approaching the sill in the East Greenland Current and the other via the North Icelandic Jet. Using an objective technique based on the hydrographic properties of the water, the transports of these two sources are found to be 2.54 ± 0.17 Sv and 1.00 ± 0.17 Sv, respectively. We further partition the East Greenland Current source into that carried by the shelfbreak jet (1.50 ± 0.16 Sv) versus that transported by a separated branch of the current on the Iceland slope (1.04 ± 0.15 Sv). Over the course of the year the total overflow transport is more consistent than the transport in either branch; compensation takes place among the pathways that maintains a stable total overflow transport. This is especially true for the two East Greenland Current branches whose transports vary out of phase with each other on weekly and longer time scales. We argue that wind forcing plays a role in this partitioning.
  • Article
    FRIS revisited in 2018: on the circulation and water masses at the Filchner and Ronne Ice Shelves in the Southern Weddell Sea
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-05-18) Janout, Markus A. ; Hellmer, Hartmut H. ; Hattermann, Tore ; Huhn, Oliver ; Sultenfuß, Jurgen ; Østerhus, Svein ; Stulic, Lukrecia ; Ryan, Svenja ; Schröder, Michael ; Kanzow, Torsten
    The Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf (FRIS) is characterized by moderate basal melt rates due to the near-freezing waters that dominate the wide southern Weddell Sea continental shelf. We revisited the region in austral summer 2018 with detailed hydrographic and noble gas surveys along FRIS. The FRIS front was characterized by High Salinity Shelf Water (HSSW) in Ronne Depression, Ice Shelf Water (ISW) on its eastern flank, and an inflow of modified Warm Deep Water (mWDW) entering through Central Trough. Filchner Trough was dominated by Ronne HSSW-sourced ISW, likely forced by a recently intensified circulation beneath FRIS due to enhanced sea ice production in the Ronne polynya since 2015. Glacial meltwater fractions and tracer-based water mass dating indicate two separate ISW outflow cores, one hugging the Berkner slope after a two-year travel time, and the other located in the central Filchner Trough following a ∼six year-long transit through the FRIS cavity. Historical measurements indicate the presence of two distinct modes, in which water masses in Filchner Trough were dominated by either Ronne HSSW-derived ISW (Ronne-mode) or more locally derived Berkner-HSSW (Berkner-mode). While the dominance of these modes has alternated on interannual time scales, ocean densities in Filchner Trough have remained remarkably stable since the first surveys in 1980. Indeed, geostrophic velocities indicated outflowing ISW-cores along the trough's western flank and onto Berkner Bank, which suggests that Ronne-ISW preconditions Berkner-HSSW production. The negligible density difference between Berkner- and Ronne-mode waters indicates that each contributes cold dense shelf waters to protect FRIS against inflowing mWDW.
  • Article
    Structure and forcing of observed exchanges across the Greenland–Scotland Ridge
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-11-19) Bringedal, Carina ; Eldevik, Tor ; Skagseth, Øystein ; Spall, Michael A. ; Østerhus, Svein
    The Atlantic meridional overturning circulation and associated poleward heat transport are balanced by northern heat loss to the atmosphere and corresponding water-mass transformation. The circulation of northward-flowing Atlantic Water at the surface and returning overflow water at depth is particularly manifested—and observed—at the Greenland–Scotland Ridge where the water masses are guided through narrow straits. There is, however, a rich variability in the exchange of water masses across the ridge on all time scales. Focusing on seasonal and interannual time scales, and particularly the gateways of the Denmark Strait and between the Faroe Islands and Shetland, we specifically assess to what extent the exchanges of water masses across the Greenland–Scotland Ridge relate to wind forcing. On seasonal time scales, the variance explained of the observed exchanges can largely be related to large-scale wind patterns, and a conceptual model shows how this wind forcing can manifest via a barotropic, cyclonic circulation. On interannual time scales, the wind stress impact is less direct as baroclinic mechanisms gain importance and observations indicate a shift in the overflows from being more barotropically to more baroclinically forced during the observation period. Overall, the observed Greenland–Scotland Ridge exchanges reflect a horizontal (cyclonic) circulation on seasonal time scales, while the interannual variability more represents an overturning circulation.
  • Article
    Structure and variability of the shelfbreak East Greenland Current north of Denmark Strait
    (American Meteorological Society, 2017-10-31) Håvik, Lisbeth ; Våge, Kjetil ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; von Appen, Wilken-Jon ; Jónsson, Steingrímur ; Østerhus, Svein
    Data from a mooring array deployed north of Denmark Strait from September 2011 to August 2012 are used to investigate the structure and variability of the shelfbreak East Greenland Current (EGC). The shelfbreak EGC is a surface-intensified current situated just offshore of the east Greenland shelf break flowing southward through Denmark Strait. This study identified two dominant spatial modes of variability within the current: a pulsing mode and a meandering mode, both of which were most pronounced in fall and winter. A particularly energetic event in November 2011 was related to a reversal of the current for nearly a month. In addition to the seasonal signal, the current was associated with periods of enhanced eddy kinetic energy and increased variability on shorter time scales. The data indicate that the current is, for the most part, barotropically stable but subject to baroclinic instability from September to March. By contrast, in summer the current is mainly confined to the shelf break with decreased eddy kinetic energy and minimal baroclinic conversion. No other region of the Nordic Seas displays higher levels of eddy kinetic energy than the shelfbreak EGC north of Denmark Strait during fall. This appears to be due to the large velocity variability on mesoscale time scales generated by the instabilities. The mesoscale variability documented here may be a source of the variability observed at the Denmark Strait sill.