Mixing in the West Spitsbergen Current

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  • 1 Frozen Sea Research Group, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C V8L 4B2 Canada
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Abstract

Twenty-eight profiles of temperature and salinity down to 1 km depth have been measured in the area north from the coast of Svalbard to latitude 84°40′N between 0 and 32°E longitude. They show Atlantic waters of the West Spitsbergen Current entering the Arctic Ocean in a bifilimentary mode, one filament following the coastline and the other, 300 km farther north, apparently following the continental-shelf break. The profiles show these filaments mixing into the ambient water in a series of intrusive layers which are remarkably uniform over distances of hundreds of kilometers. A “triple peak” structure at the Atlantic water maximum is the dominant oceanographic characteristic of the area with salt fingering occurring on the upper surface of the cold intrusions and indications of double diffusive exchanges through the lower. surface. A system or eddies or meanders is postulated as the mechanism for the production of multiple fronts allowing the intrusive layers to extend to distances much greater than the internal Rossby radius.

Abstract

Twenty-eight profiles of temperature and salinity down to 1 km depth have been measured in the area north from the coast of Svalbard to latitude 84°40′N between 0 and 32°E longitude. They show Atlantic waters of the West Spitsbergen Current entering the Arctic Ocean in a bifilimentary mode, one filament following the coastline and the other, 300 km farther north, apparently following the continental-shelf break. The profiles show these filaments mixing into the ambient water in a series of intrusive layers which are remarkably uniform over distances of hundreds of kilometers. A “triple peak” structure at the Atlantic water maximum is the dominant oceanographic characteristic of the area with salt fingering occurring on the upper surface of the cold intrusions and indications of double diffusive exchanges through the lower. surface. A system or eddies or meanders is postulated as the mechanism for the production of multiple fronts allowing the intrusive layers to extend to distances much greater than the internal Rossby radius.

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