Lagrangian Observations of the Middepth and Deep Velocity Fields of the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean.

Lankhorst, Matthias and Zenk, Walter (2006) Lagrangian Observations of the Middepth and Deep Velocity Fields of the Northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Open Access Journal of Physical Oceanography, 36 (1). pp. 43-63. DOI 10.1175/JPO2869.1.

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The circulation of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean at intermediate depths is characterized by watermass transformation processes that involve Iceland–Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) from the northeast, Labrador Sea Water (LSW) from the west, and Mediterranean Water from the south. Field observations were carried out with 89 eddy-resolving floats (RAFOS and MARVOR types). The data coverage achieved is remarkably high and enables a comprehensive study of the eastern basins between Iceland and the Azores. The trajectories show typical pathways of the water masses involved and the role that the complex bottom topography plays in defining them. The ISOW paths tend to lean against the slopes of the Reykjanes Ridge and Rockall Plateau. Westward escapes through multiple gaps in the ridge are possible, superimposed on a sustained southward flow in the eastern basin along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. LSW pathways leading to the eastern basins are subject to high variability in flow direction and eddy activity. In addition to a selection of characteristic trajectories, maps of the horizontal distributions of Lagrangian eddy kinetic energy and integral time scales are presented. These reveal distinct areas of intensified mixing in the Iceland Basin, as well as the sharp contrast between the subpolar and subtropical dynamics. A self-contained eddy detection scheme is applied to obtain statistics on individual eddy properties and their abundance. It is suggested that much of the intensified mixing can be related to cyclonic activity, particularly in the subpolar region.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Physical Oceanography
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1175/JPO2869.1
ISSN: 0022-3670
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2008 16:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2017 11:06

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