Fresh Water Balance of the Gulf Stream System in a Regional Model Study.

Gerdes, R., Biastoch, Arne and Redler, R. (2002) Fresh Water Balance of the Gulf Stream System in a Regional Model Study. Climate Dynamics, 18 . pp. 17-27. DOI 10.1007/s003820100164.

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We investigate the dependence of surface fresh water fluxes in the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Current (NAC) area on the position of the stream axis which is not well represented in most ocean models. To correct this shortcoming, strong unrealistic surface fresh water fluxes have to be applied that lead to an incorrect salt balance of the current system. The unrealistic surface fluxes required by the oceanic component may force flux adjustments and may cause fictitious long-term variability in coupled climate models. To identify the important points in the correct representation of the salt balance of the Gulf Stream a regional model of the northwestern part of the subtropical gyre has been set up. Sensitivity studies are made where the westward flow north of the Gulf Stream and its properties are varied. Increasing westward volume transport leads to a southward migration of the Gulf Stream separation point along the American coast. The salinity of the inflow is essential for realistic surface fresh water fluxes and the water mass distribution. The subpolar-subtropical connection is important in two ways: The deep dense flow from the deep water mass formation areas sets up the cyclonic circulation cell north of the Gulf Stream. The surface and mid depth flow of fresh water collected at high northern latitudes is mixed into the Gulf Stream and compensates for the net evaporation at the surface.

Document Type: Article
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Springer
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2008 17:25
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 08:04

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