A freshwater jet on the east Greenland Shelf

Bacon, S. ORCID:; Reverdin, G.; Rigor, I.G.; Snaith, H.M.. 2002 A freshwater jet on the east Greenland Shelf. Journal of Geophysical Research, 107 (C7). 5.1-5.16.

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In August 1997, RRS Discovery cruise 230 (World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) section A25) ran a hydrographic section into Cape Farewell on the southern tip of Greenland. The closest approach to the shore was 2 nm in a water depth of 160 m over the east Greenland shelf. Analysis of the hydrographic data (conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD), vessel-mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler, and thermosalinograph) has revealed a current flowing southwestward, ~15 km wide, 100 m deep, and centered ~10 km offshore. We believe it to be driven by meltwater runoff from Greenland. This feature, which we call the East Greenland Coastal Current (EGCC), carries a little less than 1 Sv (106 m3 s-1) with peak current speeds of ~1 m s-1 at the surface. The center of the EGCC lies on a salinity front with maximum salinity contrast ~4 practical salinity units (psu) between coast and shelf break and between surface and bottom. A spot value of freshwater transport is 0.06 Sv (1800 km3 yr-1), which is equivalent to ~30% of the Arctic freshwater gain. The presence of the EGCC and its continuity up the east Greenland coast as far as Denmark Strait is confirmed in satellite sea surface temperature images and surface drifter tracks. We estimate the sensitivity of its freshwater flux to changes in melt season mean surface air temperature to be >25% per 1°C.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0148-0227
Additional Keywords: East Greenland coastal current, Arctic freshwater flux.
Date made live: 07 Apr 2004 +0 (UTC)

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