Water mass transformation in the Greenland Sea during the 1990s

J. Karstensen, Peter Schlosser, D. W.R. Wallace, John L. Bullister, John Blindheim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

46 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Times series of hydrographic and transient tracer measurements were used to study the variability of Greenland Sea water mass transformation between 1991 and 2000. Increases in tracer inventories indicate active renewal of Greenland Sea Intermediate Water (GSIW) at a rate of 0.1 to 0.2 Sv (1 Sv = 1 × 106 m3 s-1) (10-year average). A temperature maximum (Tmax) was established at the base of the upper layer (500 m) as a consequence of anomalously strong freshwater input into the near-surface layer at the beginning of the 1990s. Tmax rapidly descended to 1500 m by 1995 followed by a much slower rate of descent. GSIW became warmer and less saline compared to the 1980s. During the deepening phase of Tmax, atmospheric data revealed above-average wind stress curl and oceanic heat loss. In addition, high Arctic Ocean sea-ice export and lack of local sea-ice formation have been documented for that period. A combination of all these factors may have evoked the renewal of GSIW with anomalously freshwater from the upper layers. The Tmax layer established a stability maximum that inhibits vertical exchange between intermediate and deeper waters. Temperature and salinity of deep waters continued to increase at rates of 0.01°C yr-1 and 0.001 yr-1, respectively. However, since 1993, decrease in and homogenization of deep water transient tracer concentrations indicate that renewal occurred predominantly by addition of Arctic Ocean waters. In 2000 the water column (500 m to 3400 m) required an additional 60 W m-2 (110 W m-2) over the annual mean heat loss to restore its heat content to 1989 (1971) values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans
Volume110
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Greenland
water mass
intermediate water
Water
deep water
seawater
tracer techniques
water
tracer
tracers
Arctic Ocean
temperature
heat
sea ice
Arctic region
ice
Sea ice
freshwater input
Heat losses
ice formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Ecology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this

Water mass transformation in the Greenland Sea during the 1990s. / Karstensen, J.; Schlosser, Peter; Wallace, D. W.R.; Bullister, John L.; Blindheim, John.

In: Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans, Vol. 110, No. 7, 08.07.2005, p. 1-18.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Karstensen, J. ; Schlosser, Peter ; Wallace, D. W.R. ; Bullister, John L. ; Blindheim, John. / Water mass transformation in the Greenland Sea during the 1990s. In: Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans. 2005 ; Vol. 110, No. 7. pp. 1-18.
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