Author Posting. © The Authors, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of Sears Foundation for Marine Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Marine Research 75 (2017): 605-639, doi:10.1357/002224017822109505.
Shipboard hydrographic and velocity sections are used to quantify aspects of the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ), which transports dense overflow water to Denmark Strait, and the North Icelandic Irminger Current (NIIC), which imports Atlantic water to the Iceland Sea. The mean transports of the two currents are comparable, in line with previous notions that there is a local overturning cell in the Iceland Sea that transforms the Atlantic water to dense overflow water. As the NIJ and NIIC flow along the north side of Iceland, they appear to share a common front when the bottom topography steers them close together, but even when they are separate there is a poleward flow inshore of the NIJ. The interannual variability in salinity of the inflowing NIIC is in phase with that of the outflowing NIJ. It is suggested, however, that the NIIC signal does not dictate that of the NIJ. Instead, the combination of liquid and solid freshwater flux from the east Greenland boundary can account for the observed net freshening of the NIIC to the NIJ for the densest half of the overturning circulation in the northwest Iceland Sea. This implies that the remaining overturning must occur in a different geographic area, consistent with earlier model results. The year-to-year variability in salinity of the NIJ can be explained by applying annual anomalies of evaporation minus precipitation over the Iceland Sea to a one-dimensional mixing model. These anomalies vary in phase with the wind stress curl over the North Atlantic subpolar gyre, which previous studies have shown drives the interannual variation in salinity of the inflowing NIIC.
Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation
under grants OCE-1558742 (RSP, MAS, DJT, CN), OCE-1433170 (MAS), and OCE-0959381 (DM);
the Norwegian Research Council under grant agreement no. 231647 (KV); the Bergen Research
Foundation (KV); the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2007-2013) under grant
agreement 308299 (NACLIM project, KV, HV, and SJ); and the Natural Sciences and Engineering
Research Council of Canada (GWKM).
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