Composition and variability of the Denmark Strait Overflow Water in a high-resolution numerical model hindcast simulation

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Date
2017-04-04
Authors
Behrens, Erik
Våge, Kjetil
Harden, Benjamin E.
Biastoch, Arne
Böning, Claus W.
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DOI
10.1002/2016JC012158
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Keywords
North Atlantic
Denmark Strait
Overflow
Transport variability
Overturning
Abstract
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.
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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): 2830–2846, doi:10.1002/2016JC012158.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 2830–2846
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