Intra-seasonal variability of the DWBC in the western subpolar North Atlantic

Fischer, Jürgen, Karstensen, Johannes, Zantopp, Rainer J., Visbeck, Martin, Biastoch, Arne, Behrens, Erik, Böning, Claus W., Quadfasel, D., Jochumsen, K., Valdimarsson, H., Jónsson, S., Bacon, S., Holliday, N. P., Dye, S., Rhein, M. and Mertens, C. (2015) Intra-seasonal variability of the DWBC in the western subpolar North Atlantic Progress in Oceanography, 132 . pp. 233-249. DOI 10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.002.

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Supplementary data:

Abstract

Highlights:
• A joint analysis of deep current meter records in the western North Atlantic.
• Intra-seasonal variability dominates the deep boundary current.
• Topographic waves near 10d periods trapped over steep topography.
• Basin centers are showing longer periods (50d) caused by the eddy field.
• Observed variability characteristics compared to high resolution model simulation.

Abstract
The Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC) along the western margin of the subpolar North Atlantic is an important component of the deep limb of the Meridional Overturning near its northern origins. A network of moored arrays from Denmark Strait to the tail of the Grand Banks has been installed for almost two decades to observe the boundary currents and transports of North Atlantic Deep Water as part of an internationally coordinated observatory for the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation.

The dominant variability in all of the moored velocity time series is in the week-to-month period range. While the temporal characteristics of this variability change only gradually between Denmark Strait and Flemish Cap, a broad band of longer term variability is present farther along the path of the DWBC at the Grand Banks and in the interior basins (Labrador and Irminger Seas). The vigorous intra-seasonal variability may well mask possible interannual to decadal variability that is typically an order of magnitude smaller than the high-frequency fluctuations. Here, the intra-seasonal variability is quantified at key positions along the DWBC path using both, observations and high resolution model data. The results are used to evaluate the model circulation, and in turn the model is used to relate the discrete measurements to the overall pattern of the subpolar circulation. Topographic waves are found to be trapped by the steep topography all around the western basins, the Labrador and Irminger Seas. In the Labrador Sea, the high intra-seasonal variability of the boundary current regime is separated by a region of extremely low variability in narrow recirculation cells from the basin interior. There, the variability is also on intra-seasonal timescales, but at much longer periods around 50 days.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000352038700009
Keywords: MERIDIONAL OVERTURNING CIRCULATION; DENMARK STRAIT OVERFLOW; LABRADOR SEA-WATER; BOUNDARY CURRENT; OCEAN; MODEL; CURRENTS; FLOATS; WAVES; EXIT; RACE, THOR, NACLIM; POSEIDON; POS290; POS294; POS303; POS437
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-TM Theory and Modeling
OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.002
ISSN: 0079-6611
Projects: RACE, THOR, NACLIM
Expeditions/Models:
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2014 10:39
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2017 08:26
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/24340

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