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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-09-23
    Description: The Greenland ice sheet has experienced increasing mass loss since the 1990s1, 2. The enhanced freshwater flux due to both surface melt and outlet glacier discharge is assuming an increasingly important role in the changing freshwater budget of the subarctic Atlantic3. The sustained and increasing freshwater fluxes from Greenland to the surface ocean could lead to a suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, with potential ramifications for the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation4, 5, 6. Here we assess the impact of the increases in the freshwater fluxes, reconstructed with full spatial resolution3, using a global ocean circulation model with a grid spacing fine enough to capture the small-scale, eddying transport processes in the subpolar North Atlantic. Our simulations suggest that the invasion of meltwater from the West Greenland shelf has initiated a gradual freshening trend at the surface of the Labrador Sea. Although the freshening is still smaller than the variability associated with the episodic ‘great salinity anomalies’, the accumulation of meltwater may become large enough to progressively dampen the deep winter convection in the coming years. We conclude that the freshwater anomaly has not yet had a significant impact on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
    Format: text
    Format: text
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-10-30
    Description: Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are released from the seabed to the water column1, where it may be consumed by aerobic methanotrophic bacteria2. The size and activity of methanotrophic communities, which determine the amount of methane consumed in the water column, are thought to be mainly controlled by nutrient and redox dynamics3–7. Here, we report repeated measurements of methanotrophic activity and community size at methane seeps west of Svalbard, and relate them to physical water mass properties and modelled ocean currents. We show that cold bottom water, which contained a large number of aerobic methanotrophs, was displaced by warmer water with a considerably smaller methanotrophic community within days. Ocean current simulations using a global ocean/sea-ice model suggest that this water mass exchange is consistent with short-term variations in the meandering West Spitsbergen Current. We conclude that the shift from an offshore to a nearshore position of the current can rapidly and severely reduce methanotrophic activity in the water column. Strong fluctuating currents are common at many methane seep systems globally, and we suggest that they affect methane oxidation in the water column at other sites, too.
    Type: Article , PeerReviewed
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2015-04-20
    Description: Large amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are released from the seabed to the water column, where it may be consumed by aerobic methanotrophic bacteria. The size and activity of methanotrophic communities, which determine the amount of methane consumed in the water column, are thought to be mainly controlled by nutrient and redox dynamics. Here, we report repeated measurements of methanotrophic activity and community size at methane seeps west of Svalbard, and relate them to physical water mass properties and modelled ocean currents. We show that cold bottom water, which contained a large number of aerobic methanotrophs, was displaced by warmer water with a considerably smaller methanotrophic community within days. Ocean current simulations using a global ocean/sea-ice model suggest that this water mass exchange is consistent with short-term variations in the meandering West Spitsbergen Current. We conclude that the shift from an offshore to a nearshore position of the current can rapidly and severely reduce methanotrophic activity in the water column. Strong fluctuating currents are common at many methane seep systems globally, and we suggest that they affect methane oxidation in the water column at other sites, too. © 2015 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.
    Print ISSN: 1752-0894
    Electronic ISSN: 1752-0908
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Springer Nature
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2016-06-20
    Description: The Greenland ice sheet has experienced increasing mass loss since the 1990s. The enhanced freshwater flux due to both surface melt and outlet glacier discharge is assuming an increasingly important role in the changing freshwater budget of the subarctic Atlantic. The sustained and increasing freshwater fluxes from Greenland to the surface ocean could lead to a suppression of deep winter convection in the Labrador Sea, with potential ramifications for the strength of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Here we assess the impact of the increases in the freshwater fluxes, reconstructed with full spatial resolution, using a global ocean circulation model with a grid spacing fine enough to capture the small-scale, eddying transport processes in the subpolar North Atlantic. Our simulations suggest that the invasion of meltwater from the West Greenland shelf has initiated a gradual freshening trend at the surface of the Labrador Sea. Although the freshening is still smaller than the variability associated with the episodic â great salinity anomalies', the accumulation of meltwater may become large enough to progressively dampen the deep winter convection in the coming years. We conclude that the freshwater anomaly has not yet had a significant impact on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited.
    Print ISSN: 1752-0894
    Electronic ISSN: 1752-0908
    Topics: Geosciences
    Published by Springer Nature
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