Variability of the Pacific Derived Arctic Water Over the Southeastern Wandel Sea Shelf (Northeast Greenland) in 2015–2016

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  • A portion of the freshwater transport through Fram Strait consists of low-salinity Pacific-derived Arctic water flowing southward along the east coast of Greenland. The pathways of this water are currently unclear. An Ice Tethered Profiler deployed over the southeastern Wandel Sea shelf (northeast Greenland) in May 2015 collected a profile every 3 hr for a year recording conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) and Colored Dissolved Organic Matter (CDOM) fluorescence. This was accompanied by velocity observations. The CTD data revealed that the subsurface water (~15–85 m depth) characterized by high CDOM resembles the “cold Halostad” in the Canada Basin formed by the injection of Pacific water. A coastal branch of the Pacific water outflow from the Arctic Ocean supplies the Wandel Sea halostad, which shows a clear seasonal pattern. From July to October–November, the halostad is shallow, more saline, warmer, and with less CDOM. Conversely, from November to April, the halostad deepens, cools, freshens and CDOM increases, likely indicating a higher fraction of Pacific winter water. The CTD surveys, wind and current data, and numerical simulations show that the seasonal variation of wind over the continental slope likely controls seasonal changes of this intermediate water layer. Over northeast Greenland, winter winds have a northerly component from November to April, favoring Ekman transport of the Pacific-derived water to the Wandel Sea shelf. In contrast, the prevailing southerly summer winds result in retreat of the Pacific-derived water off the shelf. The landfast ice off-slope extension modifies wind-forcing disrupting seasonal patterns.

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    Article (Published)
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    © 2019. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
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    • Dmitrenko IA, Kirillov SA, Rudels B, Babb DG, Myers PG, Stedmon CA, Bendtsen J, Ehn JK, Toudal Pedersen L, Rysgaard S, Barber DG. (2019). Variability of the Pacific Derived Arctic Water Over the Southeastern Wandel Sea Shelf (Northeast Greenland) in 2015–2016. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 124(1): 349-373.