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Title: Evaluating altimetry-derived surface currents on the south Greenland shelf with surface drifters

Abstract. The pathways and fate of freshwater in the East Greenland Coastal Current (EGCC) are crucial to the climate system. The EGCC transports large amounts of freshwater in close proximity to sites of deep open-ocean convection in the Labrador and Irminger seas. Many studies have attempted to analyze this system from models and various observational platforms, but the modeling results largely disagree with one another, and observations are limited due to the harsh conditions typical of the region. Altimetry-derived surface currents, constructed from remote-sensing observations and applying geostrophic equations, provide a continuous observational data set beginning in 1993. However, these products have historically encountered difficulties in coastal regions, and thus their validity must be checked. In this work, we use a comprehensive methodology to compare these Eulerian data to a Lagrangian data set of 34 surface drifter trajectories and demonstrate that the altimetry-derived surface currents are surprisingly capable of recovering the spatial structure of the flow field on the south Greenland shelf and can mimic the Lagrangian nature of the flow as observed from surface drifters.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Copernicus Publications
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Ocean Science
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1393 to 1411
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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