Spreading of Denmark Strait overflow water in the western subpolar North Atlantic : insights from eddy-resolving simulations with a passive tracer
Rhines, Peter B.
Chassignet, Eric P.
Schmitz, William J.
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordCirculation/ Dynamics; Abyssal circulation; Boundary currents; Ocean circulation; Ocean dynamics; Potential vorticity; Topographic effects
The oceanic deep circulation is shared between concentrated deep western boundary currents (DWBCs) and broader interior pathways, a process that is sensitive to seafloor topography. This study investigates the spreading and deepening of Denmark Strait overflow water (DSOW) in the western subpolar North Atlantic using two ° eddy-resolving Atlantic simulations, including a passive tracer injected into the DSOW. The deepest layers of DSOW transit from a narrow DWBC in the southern Irminger Sea into widespread westward flow across the central Labrador Sea, which remerges along the Labrador coast. This abyssal circulation, in contrast to the upper levels of overflow water that remain as a boundary current, blankets the deep Labrador Sea with DSOW. Farther downstream after being steered around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, DSOW again leaves the boundary, forming cyclonic recirculation cells in the deep Newfoundland basin. The deep recirculation, mostly driven by the meandering pathway of the upper North Atlantic Current, leads to accumulation of tracer offshore of Orphan Knoll, precisely where a local maximum of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) inventory is observed. At Flemish Cap, eddy fluxes carry ~20% of the tracer transport from the boundary current into the interior. Potential vorticity is conserved as the flow of DSOW broadens at the transition from steep to less steep continental rise into the Labrador Sea, while around the abrupt topography of Orphan Knoll, potential vorticity is not conserved and the DSOW deepens significantly.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 2913–2932, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0179.1.
Suggested CitationJournal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 2913–2932
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
The dynamic role of ridges in a β-plane channel : towards understanding the dynamics of large scale circulation in the Southern Ocean Wang, Liping (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1993-07)In this thesis, the dynamic role of bottom topography in a β-plane channel is systematically studied in both linear homogeneous and stratified layer models in the presence of either wind stress (Chapters 2, 3, 4, and 6) ...
On the dynamics and water mass transformation of a boundary current connecting alpha and beta oceans Lambert, Erwin; Eldevik, Tor; Spall, Michael A. (American Meteorological Society, 2018-10-19)A subpolar marginal sea, like the Nordic seas, is a transition zone between the temperature-stratified subtropics (the alpha ocean) and the salinity-stratified polar regions (the beta ocean). An inflow of Atlantic Water ...
Moffat Varas, Carlos F. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2007-09)Observations of current velocity, temperature, salinity and pressure from a 2-year moored array deployment and four hydrographic cruises conducted by the United States Southern Ocean GLOBEC program on the western Antarctic ...