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  • Author or Editor: H. M. De Jong x
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M. F. de Jong
,
A. S. Bower
, and
H. H. Furey

Abstract

Between 25 September 2007 and 28 September 2009, a heavily instrumented mooring was deployed in the Labrador Sea, offshore of the location where warm-core, anticyclonic Irminger rings are formed. The 2-year time series offers insight into the vertical and horizontal structure of newly formed Irminger rings and their heat and salt transport into the interior basin. In 2 years, 12 Irminger rings passed by the mooring. Of these, 11 had distinct properties, while 1 anticyclone likely passed the mooring twice. Eddy radii (11–35 km) were estimated using the dynamic height signal of the anticyclones (8–18 cm) together with the observed velocities. The anticyclones show a seasonal cycle in core properties when observed (1.9°C in temperature and 0.07 in salinity at middepth) that has not been described before. The temperature and salinity are highest in fall and lowest in spring. Cold, fresh caps, suggested to be an important source of freshwater, were seen in spring but were almost nonexistent in fall. The heat and freshwater contributions by the Irminger rings show a large spread (from 12 to 108 MJ m−2 and from −0.5 to −4.7 cm, respectively) for two reasons. First, the large range of radii leads to large differences in transported volume. Second, the seasonal cycle leads to changes in heat and salt content per unit volume. This implies that estimates of heat and freshwater transport by eddies should take the distribution of eddy properties into account in order to accurately assess their contribution to the restratification.

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M. F. de Jong
,
A. S. Bower
, and
H. H. Furey

Abstract

The contribution of warm-core anticyclones shed by the Irminger Current off West Greenland, known as Irminger rings, to the restratification of the upper layers of the Labrador Sea is investigated in the 1/12° Family of Linked Atlantic Models Experiment (FLAME) model. The model output, covering the 1990–2004 period, shows strong similarities to observations of the Irminger Current as well as ring observations at a mooring located offshore of the eddy formation region in 2007–09. An analysis of fluxes in the model shows that while the majority of heat exchange with the interior indeed occurs at the site of the Irminger Current instability, the contribution of the coherent Irminger rings is modest (18%). Heat is provided to the convective region mainly through noncoherent anomalies and enhanced local mixing by the rings facilitating further exchange between the boundary and interior. The time variability of the eddy kinetic energy and the boundary to interior heat flux in the model are strongly correlated to the density gradient between the dense convective region and the more buoyant boundary current. In FLAME, the density variations of the boundary current are larger than those of the convective region, thereby largely controlling changes in lateral fluxes. Synchronous long-term trends in temperature in the boundary and the interior over the 15-yr simulation suggest that the heat flux relative to the temperature of the interior is largely steady on these time scales.

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