Nares Strait hydrography and salinity field from a three-year moored array

Peer Reviewed

Rabe B, Munchow A, Johnson  HL, & Melling H

Journal of Geophysical Research 115, Issue C7, pages C07010, 2010, 10.1029/2009JC005966.

Nares Strait to the west of Greenland facilitates the exchange of heat and freshwater between the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans. This study focuses on salinity, temperature, and density measurements from Nares Strait from a mooring array deployed from 2003 to 2006. Innovative moorings requiring novel analysis methods measured seawater properties near 80.5°N, at spacing sufficient to resolve the internal Rossby deformation radius. The 3-year mean geostrophic velocity has a surface-intensified southward flow of 0.20 m s−1 against the western side of the strait and a secondary core flowing southward at 0.14 m s−1 in the middle of the strait. Data show warm salty water on the Greenland side and cold fresher water on the Ellesmere Island side, especially in the top layers. There was a clear difference in hydrographic structure between times when sea ice was drifting and when it was land fast. Ice was drifting in late summer, fall, and early winter with a strong surface-intensified geostrophic flow in the middle of the strait. Ice was land fast in late winter, spring, and early summer, when there was a subsurface core of strong geostrophic flow adjacent to the western side of the strait. Salinity variations of about 2 psu in time and space reflect a variable freshwater outflow from the Arctic Ocean. One particularly strong pulse occurred at the end of July 2005. For several days, steeply sloping isohalines indicated strong geostrophic flow down the middle of the strait coinciding with an amplified ice export from the Arctic due to strong southward winds.
Keywords: Hydrography, Nares Strait, Descriptive, Regional oceanography
Categories: Arctic, Natural Science