Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water transport variability through the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone and the impact of the North Atlantic Current

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Eddies and mesoscale processes
Topographic/bathymetric interactions
The Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone (CGFZ), a deep and wide gap in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge near 52°N, is a gateway between the eastern and western subpolar regions for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In 2010–2012, an eight-mooring array of current meters and temperature/salinity sensors was installed across the CGFZ between 500 m and the sea floor to measure the mean transport of westward-flowing Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) and investigate the impact of the eastward-flowing North Atlantic Current (NAC) on ISOW transport variability. The 22 month record mean ISOW transport through the CGFZ, −1.7 ± 0.5 Sv (95% confidence interval), is 30% lower than the previously published estimate based on 13 months of current-only measurements, −2.4 ± 1.2 Sv. The latter mean estimate may have been biased high due to the lack of continuous salinity measurements, although the two estimates are not statistically different due to strong mesoscale variability in both data sets. Empirical Orthogonal Function analysis and maps of satellite-derived absolute dynamic topography show that weak westward ISOW transport events and eastward reversals are caused by northward meanders of the NAC, with its deep-reaching eastward velocities. These results add to growing evidence that a significant fraction of ISOW exits the Iceland Basin by routes other than the CGFZ.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 6989–7012, doi:10.1002/2017JC012698.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 6989–7012
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