skip to main content

Title: Evolution of the East Greenland Current from Fram Strait to Denmark Strait: Synoptic measurements from summer 2012: EVOLUTION OF THE EAST GREENLAND CURRENT
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1974 to 1994
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The mechanisms that control the export of freshwater from the East Greenland Current, in both liquid and solid form, are explored using an idealized numerical model and scaling theory. A regional, coupled ocean–sea ice model is applied to a series of calculations in which key parameters are varied and the scaling theory is used to interpret the model results. The offshore ice flux, occurring in late winter, is driven primarily by internal stresses and is most sensitive to the thickness of sea ice on the shelf coming out of Fram Strait and the strength of alongshore winds over the shelf. The offshore liquid freshwater flux is achieved by eddy fluxes in late summer while there is an onshore liquid freshwater flux in winter due to the ice–ocean stress, resulting in only weak annual mean flux. The scaling theory identifies the key nondimensional parameters that control the behavior and reproduces the general parameter dependence found in the numerical model. Climate models predict that winds will increase and ice export from the Arctic will decrease in the future, both of which will lead to a decrease in the offshore flux of sea ice, while the influence on liquid freshwater may increase or decrease, depending on the relative changes in the onshore Ekman transport and offshore eddy fluxes. Additional processes that have not been considered here, such as more complex topography and synoptic wind events, may also contribute to cross-shelf exchange.

    Significance Statement

    The purpose of this study is to provide a basic understanding of what controls the flux of sea ice and low-salinity water from the East Greenland shelf into the interior of the Greenland and Iceland Seas. This is a potentially important process since it has been shown that sufficient freshening of the surface waters in the interior of the Nordic seas can inhibit deep convection and the associated air–sea heat flux and water mass transformation. A combination of idealized computer models and basic theory indicates that the fluxes of liquid and solid freshwater are controlled by different mechanisms and occur at different times of the year. Accurate representation in climate models will require representation of small-scale processes such as mesoscale eddies and gradients of ice thickness across the shelf.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Ultrahigh‐pressure (UHP) rocks in North‐East Greenland lie within a larger region of high‐pressure Laurentian crust formed in the overthickened upper plate of the collision with Baltica. Coesite‐bearing zircon dates UHP metamorphism to 365–350 Ma, which formed at the end of the Caledonian collision as a result of intracontinental subduction facilitated by strike‐slip faults that broke the lithosphere. Rutile is the stable Ti‐bearing phase at UHP, while titanite forms on the retrograde path. Trace elements and U‐Pb in titanite were analyzed for six UHP gneisses. Zr‐in‐titanite temperatures range from 764 to 803°C and lie on the isobaric part of the pressure‐temperature path at 1.2 GPa, which fits Ti‐phase stability determined by thermodynamic modeling. Large (>600 μm), zoned titanite preserves three distinct trace element patterns that are due to metamorphism, melting and garnet breakdown. Weighted mean206Pb/238U ages range from 347 ± 5 Ma to 320 ± 11 Ma, but age variation as a function of trace element domain for individual samples is not resolvable within uncertainty. Titanite records a prolonged period of exhumation that is also seen in the zircon record, where phengite decompression melting started at ca. 347 Ma, leucosome emplacement accompanied retrograde metamorphism from 350 to 330 Ma; and titanite grew during isobaric cooling from 345 to 320 Ma when the UHP rocks stalled at lower crustal levels. The same transforms that originally break the lithosphere play a significant role in channeling the UHP rocks back to the lower crust via buoyancy driven exhumation, after which time titanite formed.

    more » « less