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Composition of freshwater in the spring of 2014 on the southern Labrador shelf and slope

Benetti, M.; Reverdin, G.; Lique, C.; Yashayaev, I.; Holliday, N.P.; Tynan, E.; Torres-valdes, S.; Lherminier, P.; Tréguer, P.; Sarthou, G.. 2017 Composition of freshwater in the spring of 2014 on the southern Labrador shelf and slope. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122 (2). 10.1002/2016JC012244

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Abstract/Summary

The Labrador Current is an important conduit of freshwater from the Arctic to the interior North Atlantic subpolar gyre. Here we investigate the spatial variability of the freshwater sources over the southern Labrador shelf and slope during May–June 2014. Using measurements of seawater properties such as temperature, salinity, nutrients, and oxygen isotopic composition, we estimate the respective contributions of saline water of Atlantic and Pacific origins, of brines released during sea ice formation, and of freshwater from sea ice melt and meteoric water origins. On the southern Labrador shelf, we find a large brine signal and Pacific water influence indicating a large contribution of water from the Canadian Arctic. The brine signal implies that more than 4 m of sea ice formed upstream, either in the Arctic or in Baffin Bay and the northern Labrador Sea. Over the midshelf and slope at 52°N, we find a stronger influence of slope water from the West Greenland Current with a smaller contribution of Pacific water and no brine signal. Thus, there is advection of water from the slope region to the midshelf between 55°N and 52°N. Very freshwater with high meteoric content is found close to the coast in June 2014. Observations from 1995 and 2008 suggest a higher fraction of brine and Pacific water on the shelf compared to that observed in 2014.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1002/2016JC012244
ISSN: 21699275
Additional Keywords: Labrador Current; freshwater; Pacific water; brines; sea ice melt; stable isotopes
Date made live: 13 Feb 2017 16:46 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/516191

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