University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series > Upper water variability in the subpolar North Atlantic

Upper water variability in the subpolar North Atlantic

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The properties of the upper waters in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic between 1996 and the present day are examined. Around 7 Sv of these warm and saline waters flow northwards over the Greenland-Scotland Ridge into the Nordic Seas and Arctic Ocean, providing an estimated 250 TW and 245 kT/s of heat and salt to the region. Hence variations in the subpolar North Atlantic are propagated northwards. Between 1996 and the mid-2000s the upper waters in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic became warmer (+0.72 ºC) and saltier (+0.088), whilst nitrate and phosphate levels decreased (-2.00 μM and -0.14 μM respectively). These changes, out-with calculated errors, can be explained by the varying influence of southern versus subpolar water masses in the area as the Subpolar Gyre weakened and contracted. Since the early-2000s the Subpolar Gyre has been weaker than observed since 1992, or modelled since 1960-70. Hence upper waters within the eastern subpolar North Atlantic, and therefore Nordic Seas, maybe warmer, saltier and more depleted in nutrients than at any time in the last half century.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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