Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-100
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-100

  09 Nov 2021

09 Nov 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

Changes in the Surface Salinity Gradient and Transport of the Irminger Current: The Climate Perspective

Nathan Paldor1, Ofer Shamir1,a, Andreas Münchow2, and Albert D. Kirwan Jr.2 Nathan Paldor et al.
  • 1Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
  • 2School of Marine Science and Policy, University of Delaware, Newark DE, USA
  • aPresent Affiliation: Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, NYC NY, USA

Abstract. Here we use a new analysis schema, the Freshening Length, to study the transport in the Irminger Current on the east and west sides of Greenland. The Freshening Length schema relates the transports on either side of Greenland to the corresponding surface salinity gradients by analyzing climatological data from a data assimilating global ocean model. Surprisingly, the warm and salty waters of the Current are clearly identified by a salinity maximum that varies nearly linearly with distance along the Current’s axis. Our analysis of the climatological salinity data based on the Freshening Length schema shows that only about 20 % of the transport east of Greenland navigates the southern tip of Greenland to enter the Labrador Sea in the west. The other 80 % disperses into the ambient ocean. This independent quantitative estimate based on a 37-year long record complements seasonal to annual field campaigns that studied the connection between the seas east and west of Greenland more synoptically. A temperature-salinity analysis shows that the Irminger Current east of Greenland is characterized by a compensating isopycnal exchange of temperature and salinity, while west of Greenland the horizontal convergence of less dense surface water is accompanied by downwelling/subduction.

Nathan Paldor et al.

Status: open (until 04 Jan 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on os-2021-100', Anonymous Referee #1, 21 Nov 2021 reply

Nathan Paldor et al.

Nathan Paldor et al.

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Short summary
The manuscript examines the flow of the Irminger Current east, and west, of Greenland by analyzing a 37-year long reanalyzed surface salinity data using the new Freshening Length schema. The Current is a major component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) that strongly affects Earth's climate. Our analysis reveals that the Current interacts only slightly with the surrounding water east of Greenland while west of it, most of its water sinks to the deep ocean.