Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-100
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-100
09 Nov 2021
 | 09 Nov 2021
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal OS but the revision was not accepted.

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

Nathan Paldor, Ofer Shamir, Andreas Münchow, and Albert D. Kirwan Jr.

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.

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Nathan Paldor, Ofer Shamir, Andreas Münchow, and Albert D. Kirwan Jr.

Status: closed

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
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-100', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Dec 2021

Status: closed

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
  • RC2: 'Comment on os-2021-100', Anonymous Referee #2, 20 Dec 2021
Nathan Paldor, Ofer Shamir, Andreas Münchow, and Albert D. Kirwan Jr.
Nathan Paldor, Ofer Shamir, Andreas Münchow, and Albert D. Kirwan Jr.

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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.