On the Cascading of Dense Shelf Waters in the Irminger Sea

Type Article
Date 2012-12
Language English
Author(s) Falina Anastasia1, Sarafanov Artem1, Mercier HerleORCID2, Lherminier PascaleORCID3, Sokov Alexey1, Daniault Nathalie4
Affiliation(s) 1 : PP Shirshov Oceanol Inst, Moscow 117997, Russia.
2 : CNRS, Lab Phys Oceans, Plouzane, France.
3 : Ifremer, Lab Phys Oceans, Plouzane, France.
4 : UBO, Lab Phys Oceans, Brest, France.
Source Journal Of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (Amer Meteorological Soc), 2012-12 , Vol. 42 , N. 12 , P. 2254-2267
DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-12-012.1
WOS© Times Cited 31
Abstract Hydrographic data collected in the Irminger Sea in the 1990s-2000s indicate that dense shelf waters carried by the East Greenland Current south of the Denmark Strait intermittently descend (cascade) down the continental slope and merge with the deep waters originating from the Nordic Seas overflows. Repeat measurements on the East Greenland shelf at similar to 200 km south of the Denmark Strait (65 degrees-66 degrees N) reveal that East Greenland shelf waters in the Irminger Sea are occasionally as dense (sigma(0) > 27.80) as the overflow-derived deep waters carried by the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC). Clear hydrographic traces of upstream cascading of dense shelf waters are found over the continental slope at 64.3 degrees N, where the densest plumes (sigma(0) > 27.80) originating from the shelf are identified as distinct low-salinity anomalies in the DWBC. Downstream observations suggest that dense fresh waters descending from the shelf in the northern Irminger Sea can be distinguished in the DWBC up to the latitude of Cape Farewell (similar to 60 degrees N) and that these waters make a significant contribution to the DWBC transport.
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