The Irminger Gyre as a key driver of the subpolar North Atlantic overturning

Sanchez-Franks, A. ORCID:; Holliday, N. P. ORCID:; Evans, D. G. ORCID:; Fried, N.; Tooth, O.; Chafik, L.; Fu, Y.; Li, F.; de Jong, M. F.; Johnson, H. L.. 2024 The Irminger Gyre as a key driver of the subpolar North Atlantic overturning. Geophysical Research Letters, 51 (8).

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Geophysical Research Letters - 2024 - Sanchez‐Franks - The Irminger Gyre as a Key Driver of the Subpolar North Atlantic.pdf - Published Version
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The lower limb of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) is the equatorward flow of dense waters formed through the cooling and freshening of the poleward-flowing upper limb. In the subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA), upper limb variability is primarily set by the North Atlantic Current, whereas lower limb variability is less well understood. Using observations from a SPNA mooring array, we show that variability of the AMOC's lower limb is connected to poleward flow in the interior Irminger Sea. We identify this poleward flow as the northward branch of the Irminger Gyre (IG), accounting for 55% of the AMOC's lower limb variability. Over 2014–2018, wind stress curl fluctuations over the Labrador and Irminger Seas drive this IG and AMOC variability. On longer (>annual) timescales, however, an increasing trend in the thickness of intermediate water, from 2014 to 2020, within the Irminger Sea coincides with a decreasing trend in IG strength.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0094-8276
Date made live: 10 Jun 2024 14:18 +0 (UTC)

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