Fiammetta Straneo

Measuring the Freshwater Flux Through Hudson Strait

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Freshwater in the North Atlantic

Freshwater is a key player in our climate system and small changes in the freshwater budget of the oceans can potentially induce large changes in our climate. This is because freshwater is much lighter than seawater and has the potential of dramatically increasing the ocean's vertical stability.

Changes in the freshwater flowing into the North Atlantic have been identified as one of the potential triggers for changes in the overturning circulation and in the poleward heat transport.

There are three main sources of freshwater into the North Atlantic: Fram Strait (east of Greenland), Davis Strait (west of Greenland) and Hudson Strait. Of these, the first two are major pathways connecting the fresher, ice-producing Arctic Ocean with the North Atlantic, while Hudson Strait accumulates a large riverine input from the North American continent, formation of sea-ice over the entire Hudson Bay/Foxe Basin system and a small contribution from the Arctic via Hecla and Fury Strait.  A large international program, ASOF, is underway to quantify and monitor the exchange between the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans.

Freshwater from Hudson Strait

    After Fram and Davis Straits, Hudson Strait is the third largest input of freshwater into the Labrador Sea (and hence the North Atlantic).  Freshwater sources for this region include a large riverine input (900 cubed kilometres per year), seasonal sea-ice formation over the large inland sea that is composed of Hudson Bay, James Bay and Foxe Basin (>1 million square km), plus a contribution from the Arctic via Fury and Hecla Strait.

    My research in Hudson Strait has been aimed at measuring the freshwater flow out of Hudson Strait and investigating what controls its seasonal to interannual variability.

Presentations and Posters

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation Ocean Sciences Division and by WHOI's Ocean and Climate Change Institute.

A Mooring Array to Measure the Freshwater Through Hudson Strait

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