Harden Benjamin E.

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Benjamin E.

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  • Article
    Offshore transport of dense water from the East Greenland Shelf
    (American Meteorological Society, 2014-01) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Renfrew, Ian A.
    Data from a mooring deployed at the edge of the East Greenland shelf south of Denmark Strait from September 2007 to October 2008 are analyzed to investigate the processes by which dense water is transferred off the shelf. It is found that water denser than 27.7 kg m−3—as dense as water previously attributed to the adjacent East Greenland Spill Jet—resides near the bottom of the shelf for most of the year with no discernible seasonality. The mean velocity in the central part of the water column is directed along the isobaths, while the deep flow is bottom intensified and veers offshore. Two mechanisms for driving dense spilling events are investigated, one due to offshore forcing and the other associated with wind forcing. Denmark Strait cyclones propagating southward along the continental slope are shown to drive off-shelf flow at their leading edges and are responsible for much of the triggering of individual spilling events. Northerly barrier winds also force spilling. Local winds generate an Ekman downwelling cell. Nonlocal winds also excite spilling, which is hypothesized to be the result of southward-propagating coastally trapped waves, although definitive confirmation is still required. The combined effect of the eddies and barrier winds results in the strongest spilling events, while in the absence of winds a train of eddies causes enhanced spilling.
  • 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.
  • Article
    Trends in physical properties at the southern New England shelf break
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-01-21) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Infante, Mia
    We analyze 11 years (2003–2013) of repeat temperature and salinity sections from across the New England shelf break south of Cape Cod during early summer (June–July). The mean sections resolved the shelf break front which supports the Shelf Break Jet, a vital component of the regional circulation. Individual sections showed a great deal of variability associated with meanders in the shelf break front consistent with previous studies in the region. Over the 11 year record, the shelf region (inshore of the 100 m isobath) warmed by 0.26 °C yr -1, with the majority of this warming occurring shallower than 20 m (0.58 °C yr -1). The full‐depth trend agrees well with previous studies of shelf warming to the north and the south of our study region. The temperature and salinity of the offshore edge of the Cold Pool Water on the shelf did not change significantly during this period. The surface warming on the shelf resulted in a decrease in near‐surface density of 0.12 kg m -3 yr -1 and an increase in stratification between 10 and 15 m of 6.7 X 10(-5) S -2 yr -1 . Offshore of the shelf break, the Slope Water also warmed and became more saline by 0.21 °C yr -1 and 0.04 yr -1 respectively, resulting in a maximal reduction in density of 0.01 kg m -3 yr -1. In the Shelf Break Front, there is some evidence of freshening and a reduction in density, which may have resulted from an offshore shift in the Cold Pool but the statistical significance is small.
  • Article
    The annual salinity cycle of the Denmark Strait Overflow
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-03-22) Opher, Jacob G. ; Brearley, J. Alexander ; Dye, Stephen R. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Renfrew, Ian A. ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; Meredith, Michael P.
    The Denmark Strait Overflow (DSO) is an important source of dense water input to the deep limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). It is fed by separate currents from the north that advect dense water masses formed in the Nordic Seas and Arctic Ocean which then converge at Denmark Strait. Here we identify an annual salinity cycle of the DSO, characterized by freshening in winter and spring. The freshening is linked to freshening of the Shelfbreak East Greenland Current in the Blosseville Basin north of the Denmark Strait. We demonstrate that the East Greenland Current advects fresh pycnocline water above the recirculating Atlantic Water, which forms a low salinity lid for the overflow in Denmark Strait and in the Irminger Basin. This concept is supported by intensified freshening of the DSO in lighter density classes on the Greenland side of the overflow. The salinity of the DSO in the Irminger Basin is significantly correlated with northerly/northeasterly winds in the Blosseville Basin at a lag of 3–4 months, consistent with estimated transit times. This suggests that wind driven variability of DSO source water exerts an important influence on the salinity variability of the downstream DSO, and hence the composition of the deep limb of the AMOC.
  • Article
    Moored observations of synoptic and seasonal variability in the East Greenland Coastal Current
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-12-23) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Sutherland, David A.
    We present a year-round assessment of the hydrographic variability within the East Greenland Coastal Current on the Greenland shelf from five synoptic crossings and 4 years of moored hydrographic data. From the five synoptic sections the current is observed as a robust, surface intensified flow with a total volume transport of 0.66 ± 0.18 Sv and a freshwater transport of 42 ± 12 mSv. The moorings showed heretofore unobserved variability in the abundance of Polar and Atlantic water masses in the current on synoptic scales. This is exhibited as large vertical displacement of isotherms (often greater than 100 m). Seasonally, the current is hemmed into the coast during the fall by a full depth Atlantic Water layer that has penetrated onto the inner shelf. The Polar Water layer in the current then thickens through the winter and spring seasons increasing the freshwater content in the current; the timing implies that this is probably driven by the seasonally varying export of freshwater from the Arctic and not the local runoff from Greenland. The measured synoptic variability is enhanced during the winter and spring period due to a lower halocline and a concurrent enhancement in the along-coast wind speed. The local winds force much of the high-frequency variability in a manner consistent with downwelling, but variability distinct from downwelling is also visible.
  • 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
    Meteorological buoy observations from the central Iceland Sea
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-24) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Renfrew, Ian A. ; Petersen, Guðrún N.
    We present the first continuous in situ atmospheric observations from the central Iceland Sea collected from a meteorological buoy deployed for a 2 year period between 23 November 2007 and 21 August 2009. We use these observations to evaluate the ERA-Interim reanalysis product and demonstrate that it represented low-level meteorological fields and surface turbulent fluxes in this region very well. The buoy observations showed that moderate to strong winds were common from any direction, while wind speeds below 5 ms−1 were relatively rare. The observed low-level air temperature and surface heat fluxes were related to the wind direction with cold-air outbreaks most common from the northwest. Mean wintertime turbulent heat fluxes were modest (<60 Wm−2), but the range was substantial. High heat flux events, greater than 200 Wm−2, typically occurred every 1–2 weeks in the winter, with each event lasting on average 2.5 days with an average total turbulent heat flux of ∼200 Wm−2 out of the ocean. The most pronounced high heat flux events over the central Iceland Sea were associated with cold-air outbreaks from the north and west forced by a deep Lofoten Low over the Norwegian Sea.
  • Presentation
    Data Management in (Ocean) Sciences – Interactive Class
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2020-02-26) Soenen, Karen ; Harden, Benjamin E.
    Ocean 101, engaging classes to help SEA students understand the frontiers of ocean climate science. This particular class focuses on data management in oceanography. Covered topics are the importance of open data, the data life cycle and F.A.I.R. Principles. The interactive part consists of creating the content for a data management plan and applying general data management practices.
  • Article
    Outlet glacier dynamics and bathymetry at Upernavik Isstrøm and Upernavik Isfjord, North-West Greenland
    (Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, 2014-07) Andresen, Camilla S. ; Kjeldsen, Kristian K. ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; Norgaard-Pedersen, Niels ; Kjaer, Kurt H.
    During the past decades, the Greenland ice sheet has experienced a marked increase in mass loss resulting in an increased contribution to global sea-level rise. The three largest outlet glaciers in Greenland have increased their discharge, accelerated, thinned and retreated between 1996 and 2005. After 2005 most of them have slowed down again although not to previous levels. Geodetic observations suggest that rapid increase in mass loss from the north-western part of the ice sheet occurred during 2005–2010 (Kjeldsen et al. 2013). Warming of the subsurface water masses off Greenland may have triggered the acceleration of outlet glaciers from the ice sheet (Straneo & Heimbach 2013). The North Atlantic subpolar gyre, which transports water to South-East and West Greenland via the warm Irminger Current, warmed in the mid-1990s. Increased inflow of warm subpolar waters likely led to increased submarine melting of tidewater glaciers. Climate, glacier configuration and fjord bathymetry play fundamental roles for outlet glacier dynamics and thus knowledge of these parameters is warranted. In particular, the bathymetry of a fjord gives important information about the exchange between fjord waters close to marine-terminating glaciers and the shelf and ocean. However, only sparse bathymetric data are available for the majority of fjords in Greenland. The International bathymetry chart for the Arctic Ocean (IBCAO) does not provide adequate data for the fjords and gives the impression that water depths in fjords are typically <200 m. Here we present the first detailed bathymetric data from Upernavik Isfjord in North-West Greenland, which were obtained during a cruise led by the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland in August 2013. The purpose of the cruise was to retrieve sediment cores, collect hydrographic data and map the bathymetry of the fjord. In this paper, we also estimate retreat rates of the Upernavik Isstrøm since 1849 and evaluate them in the context of climate variability, glacier setting and fjord bathymetry.
  • Article
    Composition and variability of the Denmark Strait Overflow Water in a high-resolution numerical model hindcast simulation
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2017-04-04) Behrens, Erik ; Våge, Kjetil ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; Biastoch, Arne ; Böning, Claus W.
    The upstream sources and pathways of the Denmark Strait Overflow Water and their variability have been investigated using a high-resolution model hindcast. This global simulation covers the period from 1948 to 2009 and uses a fine model mesh (1/20°) to resolve mesoscale features and the complex current structure north of Iceland explicitly. The three sources of the Denmark Strait Overflow, the shelfbreak East Greenland Current (EGC), the separated EGC, and the North Icelandic Jet, have been analyzed using Eulerian and Lagrangian diagnostics. The shelfbreak EGC contributes the largest fraction in terms of volume and freshwater transport to the Denmark Strait Overflow and is the main driver of the overflow variability. The North Icelandic Jet contributes the densest water to the Denmark Strait Overflow and shows only small temporal transport variations. During summer, the net volume and freshwater transports to the south are reduced. On interannual time scales, these transports are highly correlated with the large-scale wind stress curl around Iceland and, to some extent, influenced by the North Atlantic Oscillation, with enhanced southward transports during positive phases. The Lagrangian trajectories support the existence of a hypothesized overturning loop along the shelfbreak north of Iceland, where water carried by the North Icelandic Irminger Current is transformed and feeds the North Icelandic Jet. Monitoring these two currents and the region north of the Iceland shelfbreak could provide the potential to track long-term changes in the Denmark Strait Overflow and thus also the AMOC.
  • 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.
  • Article
    Export of ice sheet meltwater from Upernavik Fjord, West Greenland
    (American Meteorological Society, 2022-03-01) Muilwijk, Morven ; Straneo, Fiamma ; Slater, Donald A. ; Smedsrud, Lars H. ; Holte, James W. ; Wood, Michael ; Andresen, Camilla S. ; Harden, Benjamin E.
    Meltwater from Greenland is an important freshwater source for the North Atlantic Ocean, released into the ocean at the head of fjords in the form of runoff, submarine melt, and icebergs. The meltwater release gives rise to complex in-fjord transformations that result in its dilution through mixing with other water masses. The transformed waters, which contain the meltwater, are exported from the fjords as a new water mass Glacially Modified Water (GMW). Here we use summer hydrographic data collected from 2013 to 2019 in Upernavik, a major glacial fjord in northwest Greenland, to describe the water masses that flow into the fjord from the shelf and the exported GMWs. Using an optimum multi-parameter technique across multiple years we then show that GMW is composed of 57.8% ± 8.1% Atlantic Water (AW), 41.0% ± 8.3% Polar Water (PW), 1.0% ± 0.1% subglacial discharge, and 0.2% ± 0.2% submarine meltwater. We show that the GMW fractional composition cannot be described by buoyant plume theory alone since it includes lateral mixing within the upper layers of the fjord not accounted for by buoyant plume dynamics. Consistent with its composition, we find that changes in GMW properties reflect changes in the AW and PW source waters. Using the obtained dilution ratios, this study suggests that the exchange across the fjord mouth during summer is on the order of 50 mSv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) (compared to a freshwater input of 0.5 mSv). This study provides a first-order parameterization for the exchange at the mouth of glacial fjords for large-scale ocean models.
  • Dataset
    CTD data from the WHOI-MIT Joint Program Orientation Cruises aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer (2003-2013)
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2020-01-14) Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Harden, Benjamin E.
    CTD data from 11 WHOI-MIT Joint Program Orientation Cruises aboard the SSV Corwith Cramer. Cruises occupied standard sections to the south of Cape Cod across the New England Shelfbreak in late June between 2003 and 2013.
  • Article
    High-frequency variability in the North Icelandic Jet
    (Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2018-03) Harden, Benjamin E. ; Pickart, Robert S.
    We describe the high-frequency variability in the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ) on the Iceland Slope using data from the densely instrumented Kögur mooring array deployed upstream of the Denmark Strait sill from September 2011 to July 2012. Significant sub-8-day variability is ubiquitous in all moorings from the Iceland slope with a dominant period of 3.6 days. We attribute this variability to topographic Rossby waves on the Iceland slope with a wavelength of 62 ± 3 km and a phase velocity of 17.3 ± 0.8 km/day−1 directed downslope (−9◦ relative to true-north). We test the theoretical dispersion relation for these waves against our observations and find good agreement between the predicted and measured direction of phase propagation.We additionally calculate a theoretical group velocity of 36 km day−1 directed almost directly up-slope (106◦ relative to true-north) that agrees well with the propagation speed and direction of observed energy pulses. We use an inverse wave tracing model to show that this wave energy is generated locally, offshore of the array, and does not emanate from the upstream or downstream directions along the Iceland slope. It is hypothesized that either the meandering Separated East Greenland Current located seaward of the NIJ or intermittent aspiration of dense water into the Denmark Strait Overflow are the drivers of the topographic waves.
  • Article
    The impact of resolution on the representation of southeast Greenland barrier winds and katabatic flows
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2015-04-19) Moore, G. W. K. ; Renfrew, Ian A. ; Harden, Benjamin E. ; Mernild, Sebastian H.
    Southern Greenland is characterized by a number of low-level high wind speed weather systems that are the result of topographic flow distortion. These systems include barrier winds and katabatic flow that occur along its southeast coast. Global atmospheric reanalyses have proven to be important tools in furthering our understanding of these orographic winds and their role in the climate system. However, there is evidence that the mesoscale characteristics of these systems may be missed in these global products. Here we show that the Arctic System Reanalysis, a higher-resolution regional reanalysis, is able to capture mesoscale features of barrier winds and katabatic flow that are missed or underrepresented in ERA-I, a leading modern global reanalysis. This suggests that our understanding of the impact of these wind systems on the coupled-climate system can be enhanced through the use of higher-resolution regional reanalyses or model data.