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Quasi-synoptic transport, budgets and water mass transformation in the Azores–Gibraltar Strait region during summer 2009

Carracedo Segade, Lidia Isabel; Gilcoto, Miguel; Mercier, Herlé; Pérez, Fiz Fernández. 2015 Quasi-synoptic transport, budgets and water mass transformation in the Azores–Gibraltar Strait region during summer 2009. Progress in Oceanography, 130. 47-64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.09.006

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Abstract/Summary

We describe the circulation patterns in the Azores–Gibraltar Strait region (North-Eastern Atlantic) during the 2009 CAIBOX cruise on the basis of hydrographic and direct current velocity measurements. This study offers new data for a region where importation of central waters (subpolar and subtropical modes of Eastern North Atlantic Central Water) and exports of Mediterranean Water are strongly related to large-scale dynamics in the North Atlantic Ocean (Azores Current-Mediterranean Water system). The description is backed up quantitatively by the results of a box inverse model, which was used to obtain absolute water mass transport values consistent with thermal wind equations and with conservation of volume, salt and heat. The contributions of water masses were determined in an extended Optimum Multiparameter Analysis from a quasi-synoptic point of view, providing detail in addition to volume, salt and heat transport. The surface–subsurface large-scale current system in the region consists of the Azores Current (13.1 ± 2.5 Sverdrup [Sv], 1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1), the Azores Counter-Current (5.2 ± 2.1 Sv), the Portugal Current (4.5 ± 1.4 Sv) and the Canary Current (7.1 ± 1.1 Sv). Broadly speaking, central waters are imported into the CAIBOX region at a rate of 1.6 ± 0.9 Sv, and Mediterranean Water is exported at a rate of 1.5 ± 0.4 Sv. The downwelling of central waters west of Gibraltar Strait was quantified at 1.1 Sv. Not all this volume participates in MW formation, but 0.8 Sv of entrained central waters; of which 0.5 Sv are from central waters of subpolar origin and 0.3 Sv from subtropical central waters. Of the 4.9 Sv of subtropical central waters advected by the Azores Current, about 0.7 Sv would reach the Gulf of Cadiz region either to take part in central water entrainment or to flow across the Gibraltar Strait as part of the Atlantic inflow to the Mediterranean Sea.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pocean.2014.09.006
ISSN: 00796611
Date made live: 03 Oct 2018 10:39 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/521100

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