Origin and Composition of Seasonal Labrador Sea Freshwater.

Schmidt, Sunke and Send, Uwe (2007) Origin and Composition of Seasonal Labrador Sea Freshwater. Open Access Journal of Physical Oceanography, 37 . pp. 1445-1454. DOI 10.1175/JPO3065.1.

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Abstract

The depth of winter convection in the central Labrador Sea is strongly influenced by the prevailing stratification in late summer. For this late summer stratification salinity is as important as temperature, and in the upper water layers salinity even dominates. To analyze the source of the spring and summer freshening in the central region, seasonal freshwater cycles have been constructed for the interior Labrador Sea, the West Greenland Current, and the Labrador Current. It is shown that none of the local freshwater sources is responsible for the spring–summer freshening in the interior, which appears to occur in two separate events in April to May and July to September. Comparing the timing and volume estimates of the seasonal freshwater cycles of the boundary currents with the central Labrador Sea helps in understanding the origin of the interior freshwater signals. The first smaller pulse cannot be attributed clearly to either of the boundary currents. The second one is about three times stronger and supplies 60% of the seasonal summer freshwater. Transport estimates and calculated mixing properties provide evidence that its source is the West Greenland Current. The finding implies a connection also on interannual time scales between Labrador Sea surface salinity and freshwater sources in the West Greenland Current and farther upstream in the East Greenland Current. The freshwater input from the West Greenland Current thus also is the likely pathway for the known modulation of Labrador Sea Water mass formation by freshwater export from the Arctic (via the East Greenland Current), which implies some predictability on longer time scales.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Freshwater, Convection, Salinity, Boundary currents, Thermohaline circulation
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1175/JPO3065.1
ISSN: 0022-3670
Projects: SFB460
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:51
Last Modified: 11 Apr 2018 12:23
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/2193

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