Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

David Sutherland

»PhD Thesis
»descriptive EGCC and EGC paper
»freshwater composition off southeast Greenland
»EGC laboratory experiments
»Faroe Bank Channel paper

David A. Sutherland, The East Greenland Coastal Current: its structure, variability, and large-scale impact

The subtidal circulation of the southeast Greenland shelf is described using a set of high-resolution hydrographic and velocity transects occupied in summer 2004. The main feature present is the East Greenland Coastal Current (EGCC), a low-salinity, high-velocity jet with a wedge-shaped hydrographic structure. The EGCC was observed along the entire shelf south of Denmark Strait, which when combined with evidence from chemical tracer measurements, implies the EGCC contains a significant Pacific Water signal, suggesting that the EGCC is an inner branch of the polar-origin East Greenland Current (EGC). A set of idealized laboratory experiments supported this hypothesis, showing that for a range of oceanic parameters, a buoyant current like the EGC could potentially influence EGCC formation. The volume transport of the combined EGC/EGCC system is roughly constant (~2 Sv) from 68?N to Cape Farewell, while the corresponding freshwater transport increases by ~60% over this distance (59 to 96 mSv). This trend is explained by constructing a simple freshwater budget of the EGCC/EGC system that accounts for meltwater runoff, melting sea-ice and icebergs, and net precipitation minus evaporation. Variability on interannual timescales is examined by calculating the Pacific Water content in the EGC/EGCC from 1984-2004 in the vicinity of Denmark Strait.

FILE » Sutherland PhD thesis

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