Harden Benjamin E.

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Benjamin E.

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  • 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
    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.