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ArticleFrontogenesis and variability in Denmark Strait and its influence on overflow water(American Meteorological Society, 2019-07-01) Spall, Michael A. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Lin, Peigen ; von Appen, Wilken-Jon ; Mastropole, Dana M. ; Valdimarsson, Héðinn ; Haine, Thomas W. N. ; Almansi, MattiaA high-resolution numerical model, together with in situ and satellite observations, is used to explore the nature and dynamics of the dominant high-frequency (from one day to one week) variability in Denmark Strait. Mooring measurements in the center of the strait reveal that warm water “flooding events” occur, whereby the North Icelandic Irminger Current (NIIC) propagates offshore and advects subtropical-origin water northward through the deepest part of the sill. Two other types of mesoscale processes in Denmark Strait have been described previously in the literature, known as “boluses” and “pulses,” associated with a raising and lowering of the overflow water interface. Our measurements reveal that flooding events occur in conjunction with especially pronounced pulses. The model indicates that the NIIC hydrographic front is maintained by a balance between frontogenesis by the large-scale flow and frontolysis by baroclinic instability. Specifically, the temperature and salinity tendency equations demonstrate that the eddies act to relax the front, while the mean flow acts to sharpen it. Furthermore, the model reveals that the two dense water processes—boluses and pulses (and hence flooding events)—are dynamically related to each other and tied to the meandering of the hydrographic front in the strait. Our study thus provides a general framework for interpreting the short-time-scale variability of Denmark Strait Overflow Water entering the Irminger Sea.
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.
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.
ArticleThe Iceland Greenland Seas Project(American Meteorological Society, 2019-09-27) Renfrew, Ian A. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Vage, Kjetil ; Moore, G. W. K. ; Bracegirde, Thomas J. ; Elvidge, Andrew D. ; Jeansson, Emil ; Lachlan-Cope, Thomas ; McRaven, Leah T. ; Papritz, Lukas ; Reuder, Joachim ; Sodemann, Harald ; Terpstra, Annick ; Waterman, Stephanie N. ; Valdimarsson, Héðinn ; Weiss, Albert ; Almansi, Mattia ; Bahr, Frank B. ; Brakstad, Ailin ; Barrell, Christopher ; Brooke, Jennifer K. ; Brooks, Barbara J. ; Brooks, Ian M. ; Brooks, Malcolm E. ; Bruvik, Erik Magnus ; Duscha, Christiane ; Fer, Ilker ; Golid, H. M. ; Hallerstig, M. ; Hessevik, Idar ; Huang, Jie ; Houghton, Leah A. ; Jonsson, Steingrimur ; Jonassen, Marius ; Jackson, K. ; Kvalsund, K. ; Kolstad, Erik W. ; Konstali, K. ; Kristiansen, Jorn ; Ladkin, Russell ; Lin, Peigen ; Macrander, Andreas ; Mitchell, Alexandra ; Olafsson, H. ; Pacini, Astrid ; Payne, Chris ; Palmason, Bolli ; Perez-Hernandez, M. Dolores ; Peterson, Algot K. ; Petersen, Guðrún N. ; Pisareva, Maria N. ; Pope, James O. ; Seidl, Andrew D. ; Semper, Stefanie ; Sergeev, Denis ; Skjelsvik, Silje ; Søiland, Henrik ; Smith, D. ; Spall, Michael A. ; Spengler, Thomas ; Touzeau, Alexandra ; Tupper, George H. ; Weng, Y. ; Williams, Keith D. ; Yang, Xiaohau ; Zhou, ShenjieThe Iceland Greenland Seas Project (IGP) is a coordinated atmosphere–ocean research program investigating climate processes in the source region of the densest waters of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. During February and March 2018, a field campaign was executed over the Iceland and southern Greenland Seas that utilized a range of observing platforms to investigate critical processes in the region, including a research vessel, a research aircraft, moorings, sea gliders, floats, and a meteorological buoy. A remarkable feature of the field campaign was the highly coordinated deployment of the observing platforms, whereby the research vessel and aircraft tracks were planned in concert to allow simultaneous sampling of the atmosphere, the ocean, and their interactions. This joint planning was supported by tailor-made convection-permitting weather forecasts and novel diagnostics from an ensemble prediction system. The scientific aims of the IGP are to characterize the atmospheric forcing and the ocean response of coupled processes; in particular, cold-air outbreaks in the vicinity of the marginal ice zone and their triggering of oceanic heat loss, and the role of freshwater in the generation of dense water masses. The campaign observed the life cycle of a long-lasting cold-air outbreak over the Iceland Sea and the development of a cold-air outbreak over the Greenland Sea. Repeated profiling revealed the immediate impact on the ocean, while a comprehensive hydrographic survey provided a rare picture of these subpolar seas in winter. A joint atmosphere–ocean approach is also being used in the analysis phase, with coupled observational analysis and coordinated numerical modeling activities underway.