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ArticleA continuous pathway for fresh water along the East Greenland shelf(American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020-10-21) Foukal, Nicholas P. ; Gelderloos, Renske ; Pickart, Robert S.Export from the Arctic and meltwater from the Greenland Ice Sheet together form a southward-flowing coastal current along the East Greenland shelf. This current transports enough fresh water to substantially alter the large-scale circulation of the North Atlantic, yet the coastal current’s origin and fate are poorly known due to our lack of knowledge concerning its north-south connectivity. Here, we demonstrate how the current negotiates the complex topography of Denmark Strait using in situ data and output from an ocean circulation model. We determine that the coastal current north of the strait supplies half of the transport to the coastal current south of the strait, while the other half is sourced from offshore via the shelfbreak jet, with little input from the Greenland Ice Sheet. These results indicate that there is a continuous pathway for Arctic-sourced fresh water along the entire East Greenland shelf from Fram Strait to Cape Farewell.
ArticleMechanisms behind the temporary shutdown of deep convection in the Labrador Sea : lessons from the Great Salinity Anomaly years 1968–71(American Meteorological Society, 2012-10-01) Gelderloos, Renske ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Katsman, Caroline A.From 1969 to 1971 convection in the Labrador Sea shut down, thus interrupting the formation of the intermediate/dense water masses. The shutdown has been attributed to the surface freshening induced by the Great Salinity Anomaly (GSA), a freshwater anomaly in the subpolar North Atlantic. The abrupt resumption of convection in 1972, in contrast, is attributed to the extreme atmospheric forcing of that winter. Here oceanic and atmospheric data collected in the Labrador Sea at Ocean Weather Station Bravo and a one-dimensional mixed layer model are used to examine the causes of the shutdown and resumption of convection in detail. These results highlight the tight coupling of the ocean and atmosphere in convection regions and the need to resolve both components to correctly represent convective processes in the ocean. They are also relevant to present-day conditions given the increased ice melt in the Arctic Ocean and from the Greenland Ice Sheet. The analysis herein shows that the shutdown was initiated by the GSA-induced freshening as well as the mild 1968/69 winter. After the shutdown had begun, however, the continuing lateral freshwater flux as well as two positive feedbacks [both associated with the sea surface temperature (SST) decrease due to lack of convective mixing with warmer subsurface water] further inhibited convection. First, the SST decrease reduced the heat flux to the atmosphere by reducing the air–sea temperature gradient. Second, it further reduced the surface buoyancy loss by reducing the thermal expansion coefficient of the surface water. In 1972 convection resumed because of both the extreme atmospheric forcing and advection of saltier waters into the convection region.
ArticleHigh-frequency variability in the circulation and hydrography of the Denmark Strait Overflow from a high-resolution numerical model(American Meteorological Society, 2017-12-13) Almansi, Mattia ; Haine, Thomas W. N. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Magaldi, Marcello G. ; Gelderloos, Renske ; Mastropole, Dana M.Initial results are presented from a yearlong, high-resolution (~2 km) numerical simulation covering the east Greenland shelf and the Iceland and Irminger Seas. The model hydrography and circulation in the vicinity of Denmark Strait show good agreement with available observational datasets. This study focuses on the variability of the Denmark Strait overflow (DSO) by detecting and characterizing boluses and pulses, which are the two dominant mesoscale features in the strait. The authors estimate that the yearly mean southward volume flux of the DSO is about 30% greater in the presence of boluses and pulses. On average, boluses (pulses) are 57.1 (27.5) h long, occur every 3.2 (5.5) days, and are more frequent during the summer (winter). Boluses (pulses) increase (decrease) the overflow cross-sectional area, and temperatures around the overflow interface are colder (warmer) by about 2.6°C (1.8°C). The lateral extent of the boluses is much greater than that of the pulses. In both cases the along-strait equatorward flow of dense water is enhanced but more so for pulses. The sea surface height (SSH) rises by 4–10 cm during boluses and by up to 5 cm during pulses. The SSH anomaly contours form a bowl (dome) during boluses (pulses), and the two features cross the strait with a slightly different orientation. The cross streamflow changes direction; boluses (pulses) are associated with veering (backing) of the horizontal current. The model indicates that boluses and pulses play a major role in controlling the variability of the DSO transport into the Irminger Sea.
ArticleLagrangian perspective on the origins of Denmark Strait Overflow(American Meteorological Society, 2020-08-01) Saberi, Atousa ; Haine, Thomas W. N. ; Gelderloos, Renske ; de Jong, Marieke Femke ; Furey, Heather H. ; Bower, Amy S.The Denmark Strait Overflow (DSO) is an important contributor to the lower limb of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). Determining DSO formation and its pathways is not only important for local oceanography but also critical to estimating the state and variability of the AMOC. Despite prior attempts to understand the DSO sources, its upstream pathways and circulation remain uncertain due to short-term (3–5 days) variability. This makes it challenging to study the DSO from observations. Given this complexity, this study maps the upstream pathways and along-pathway changes in its water properties, using Lagrangian backtracking of the DSO sources in a realistic numerical ocean simulation. The Lagrangian pathways confirm that several branches contribute to the DSO from the north such as the East Greenland Current (EGC), the separated EGC (sEGC), and the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ). Moreover, the model results reveal additional pathways from south of Iceland, which supplied over 16% of the DSO annually and over 25% of the DSO during winter of 2008, when the NAO index was positive. The southern contribution is about 34% by the end of March. The southern pathways mark a more direct route from the near-surface subpolar North Atlantic to the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), and needs to be explored further, with in situ observations.
ArticleEvolution of Denmark Strait overflow cyclones and their relationship to overflow surges(American Geophysical Union, 2020-02-06) Almansi, Mattia ; Haine, Thomas W. N. ; Gelderloos, Renske ; Pickart, Robert S.Mesoscale features present at the Denmark Strait sill regularly enhance the volume transport of the Denmark Strait overflow (DSO). They are important for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and ultimately, for the global climate system. Using a realistic numerical model, we find new evidence of the causal relationship between overflow surges (i.e., mesoscale features associated with high‐transport events) and DSO cyclones observed downstream. Most of the cyclones form at the Denmark Strait sill during overflow surges and, because of potential vorticity conservation and stretching of the water column, grow as they move equatorward. A fraction of the cyclones form downstream of the sill, when anticyclonic vortices formed during high‐transport events start collapsing. Regardless of their formation mechanism, DSO cyclones weaken starting roughly 150 km downstream of the sill, and potential vorticity is only materially conserved during the growth phase.