Articles | Volume 19, issue 1
Research article
22 Feb 2023
Research article |  | 22 Feb 2023

Observation-based estimates of volume, heat, and freshwater exchanges between the subpolar North Atlantic interior, its boundary currents, and the atmosphere

Sam C. Jones, Neil J. Fraser, Stuart A. Cunningham, Alan D. Fox, and Mark E. Inall

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Cited articles

Barnier, B., Madec, G., Penduff, T., Molines, J.M., Treguier, A.M., Le Sommer, J., Beckmann, A., Biastoch, A., Böning, C., Dengg, J., and Derval, C.: Impact of partial steps and momentum advection schemes in a global ocean circulation model at eddy-permitting resolution, Ocean Dynam., 56, 543–567,, 2006. 
Berx, B., Hansen, B., Østerhus, S., Larsen, K. M., Sherwin, T., and Jochumsen, K.: Combining in situ measurements and altimetry to estimate volume, heat and salt transport variability through the Faroe–Shetland Channel, Ocean Sci., 9, 639–654,, 2013. 
Biastoch, A., Schwarzkopf, F. U., Getzlaff, K., Rühs, S., Martin, T., Scheinert, M., Schulzki, T., Handmann, P., Hummels, R., and Böning, C. W.: Regional imprints of changes in the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation in the eddy-rich ocean model VIKING20X, Ocean Sci., 17, 1177–1211,, 2021. 
Boyer, T. P., Baranova, O. K., Coleman, C., Garcia, H. E., Grodsky, A., Locarnini, R. A., Mishonov, A. V., Paver, C.R., Reagan, J. R., Seidov, D., Smolyar, I. V., Weathers, K., and Zweng, M. M.: World Ocean Database 2018, NOAA Atlas NESDIS 87 [data set], (last access: 3 September 2019), 2018. 
Brambilla, E. and Talley, L. D.: Subpolar Mode Water in the northeastern Atlantic: 1. Averaged properties and mean circulation, J. Geophys. Res.-Oceans, 113, C04025, doi:10.1029/2006JC004062, 2008. 
Short summary
Warm water is transported from the tropical Atlantic towards western Europe and the Arctic. It loses heat to the atmosphere on the way, which strongly influences the climate. We construct a dataset encircling the North Atlantic basin north of 47° N. We calculate how and where heat enters and leaves the basin and how much cooling must happen in the interior. We find that cooling in the north-eastern Atlantic is a crucial step in controlling the conversion of water to higher densities.