Observations of seasonal subduction at the Iceland-Faroe Front
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The polar front in the North Atlantic is bound to the ridge between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, where about one-half of the northward transport of warm Atlantic Water into the Nordic Seas occurs, as well as about one sixth of the equatorward dense overflow. We find a low salinity water mass at the surface of the Iceland-Faroe Front (IFF), which in wintertime subducts along outcropping isopycnals and is found in much modified form on the Atlantic side of the Iceland-Faroe Ridge (IFR) crest. The features found on the Atlantic side of the crest at depth have temperature and salinity characteristics which are clearly traceable to the surface outcrop of the IFF. The presence of coherent low salinity layers on the Atlantic side of the IFR crest has not been previously reported. Warm waters above the IFR primarily feed the Faroe Current, and injection of a low salinity water mass may play an early role in the water mass transformation taking place in the Nordic Seas. The seasonality of the intrusive features suggests a link between winter convection, mixed layer instability and deep frontal subduction. These low salinity anomalies (as well as a low oxygen water mass from the Iceland Basin) can be used as tracers of the intermediate circulation over the IFR.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. 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 121 (2016): 4026–4040, doi:10.1002/2015JC011501.
Suggested CitationJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 121 (2016): 4026–4040
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