Articles | Volume 13, issue 6
Ocean Sci., 13, 1045–1060, 2017
Ocean Sci., 13, 1045–1060, 2017

Research article 11 Dec 2017

Research article | 11 Dec 2017

Arctic Ocean outflow and glacier–ocean interactions modify water over the Wandel Sea shelf (northeastern Greenland)

Igor A. Dmitrenko1, Sergey A. Kirillov1, Bert Rudels2, David G. Babb1, Leif Toudal Pedersen3, Søren Rysgaard1,4,5, Yngve Kristoffersen6,7, and David G. Barber1 Igor A. Dmitrenko et al.
  • 1Centre for Earth Observation Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki, Finland
  • 3Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
  • 4Greenland Climate Research Centre, Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland
  • 5Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
  • 6Department of Earth Science, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 7Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. The first-ever conductivity–temperature–depth (CTD) observations on the Wandel Sea shelf in northeastern Greenland were collected in April–May 2015. They were complemented by CTDs taken along the continental slope during the Norwegian FRAM 2014–2015 drift. The CTD profiles are used to reveal the origin of water masses and interactions with ambient water from the continental slope and the tidewater glacier outlet. The subsurface water is associated with the Pacific water outflow from the Arctic Ocean. The underlying halocline separates the Pacific water from a deeper layer of polar water that has interacted with the warm Atlantic water outflow through the Fram Strait, recorded below 140 m. Over the outer shelf, the halocline shows numerous cold density-compensated intrusions indicating lateral interaction with an ambient polar water mass across the continental slope. At the front of the tidewater glacier outlet, colder and turbid water intrusions were observed at the base of the halocline. On the temperature–salinity plots these stations indicate a mixing line that is different from the ambient water and seems to be conditioned by the ocean–glacier interaction. Our observations of Pacific water are set within the context of upstream observations in the Beaufort Sea and downstream observations from the Northeast Water Polynya, and clearly show the modification of Pacific water during its advection across the Arctic Ocean. Moreover, ambient water over the Wandel Sea slope shows different thermohaline structures indicating the different origin and pathways of the on-shore and off-shore branches of the Arctic Ocean outflow through the western Fram Strait.