Circulation and transport in the western boundary currents at Cape Farewell, Greenland

N. P. Holliday, S. Bacon, John Allen, E. L. McDonagh

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    The circulation and volume transports in the western boundary currents around Cape Farewell, Greenland, are derived from full-depth hydrographic and velocity measurements from August-September 2005. The western boundary currents from surface to seafloor transport 40.5 ± 8.1 Sv (Sv≡ 106 m3 s-1) southward in the Irminger Sea, and 53.8 ± 10.8 Sv northward in the Labrador Sea. The Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC, defined as water with potential density greater than 27.80 kg m-3) transports 12.3 ± 2.5 Sv southward in the Irminger Sea. The deep water transport is reduced south of Cape Farewell, where it changes flow direction from southward to northward (the south corner). At a section over the Eirik Ridge, a bathymetric feature extending southwest of Cape Farewell, the DWBC transports 8.7 ± 1.7 Sv westward. The reduction in transport at the south corner is associated with decreased velocities within the deepest layers and the volumetric loss of the most saline deep water types. The observations suggest that the paths of the shallow and deep western boundary currents diverge at the south corner. Downstream in the eastern Labrador Sea the deep water transport is increased to 19.7 ± 3.9 Sv northward, with the addition of recirculating denser deep waters. The representativeness of the results from the semisynoptic survey is discussed with reference to companion current meter measurements of the DWBC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1854-1870
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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