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Seasonal and interannual variability of the West Greenland Current System in the Labrador Sea in 1993-2008


Rykova, T and Straneo, F and Bower, AS, Seasonal and interannual variability of the West Greenland Current System in the Labrador Sea in 1993-2008, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 120, (2) pp. 1318-1332. ISSN 2169-9275 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2014JC010386


The West Greenland Current System (WGCS) transports heat and freshwater into the Labrador Sea, influencing the formation of Labrador Sea Water, a key component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Notwithstanding its importance, relatively little is known about the structure and transport of this current system and its seasonal and interannual variability. Here we use historical hydrographic data from 1992 to 2008, combined with AVISO satellite altimetry, to diagnose the mean properties as well as seasonal and interannual variability of the boundary current system. We find that while the surface, fresh, cold West Greenland Current is amplified in summer, the subsurface warm, salty Irminger Current has maximum transport in winter, when its waters are also warmer and saltier. Seasonal changes in the total transport are thus mostly due to changes in the baroclinic structure of the current. By contrast, we find a trend toward warmer/saltier waters and a slowdown of the WGCS, within the period studied. The latter is attributed to changes in the barotropic component of the current. Superimposed on this trend, warm and salty anomalies transit through the system in 1997 and 2003 and are associated with a rapid increase in the transport of the boundary current due to changes in the baroclinic component. The boundary current changes precede similar changes in the interior with a 1-2 year lag, indicating that anomalies advected into the region by the boundary current can play an important role in the modulation of convection in the Labrador Sea.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Greenland, West Greenland Current System, ocean currents, Labrador Sea, seasonal variability,
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Rykova, T (Dr Tatiana Rykova)
ID Code:118532
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Directorate
Deposited On:2017-07-13
Last Modified:2018-05-07
Downloads:133 View Download Statistics

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