Coupling of eastern and western subpolar North Atlantic: salt transport in the Irminger Current

Born, Andreas; Stocker, Thomas; Sandø, A. B. (2013). Coupling of eastern and western subpolar North Atlantic: salt transport in the Irminger Current. Ocean Science Discussions, 10(2), pp. 555-579. Copernicus 10.5194/osd-10-555-2013

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Salt transport in the Irminger Current and thus the coupling between eastern and western subpolar North Atlantic plays an important role for climate variability across a wide range of time scales. High-resolution ocean modeling and observations indicate that 5 salinities in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic decrease with enhanced circulation of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre (SPG). This has led to the perception that a stronger SPG also transports less salt westward. In this study, we analyze a regional ocean model and a comprehensive global coupled climate model, and show that a stronger SPG transports more salt in the Irminger Current irrespective of lower salinities in its 10 source region. The additional salt converges in the Labrador Sea and the Irminger Basin by eddy transports, increases surface salinity in the western SPG, and favors more intense deep convection. This is part of a positive feedback mechanism with potentially large implications for climate variability and predictability.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Born, Andreas and Stocker, Thomas

Subjects:

500 Science > 530 Physics
500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology

ISSN:

1812-0822

Publisher:

Copernicus

Language:

English

Submitter:

Doris Rätz

Date Deposited:

29 Sep 2014 09:30

Last Modified:

01 Jan 2015 18:29

Publisher DOI:

10.5194/osd-10-555-2013

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.57889

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/57889

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