3 years ago

The Yermak Pass Branch: A Major Pathway for the Atlantic Water North of Svalbard?

Christine Provost, Jean-Claude Gascard, Gilles Garric, Nathalie Sennéchael, Zoé Koenig
An upward-looking Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler deployed from July 2007 to September 2008 in the Yermak Pass, north of Svalbard, gathered velocity data from 570 m up to 90 m at a location covered by sea-ice 10 months out of 12. Barotropic diurnal and semi-diurnal tides are the dominant signals in the velocity (more than 70% of the velocity variance). In winter, baroclinic eddies at periods between 5 and 15 days and pulses of one-to-two month periodicity are observed in the Atlantic Water layer and are associated with a shoaling of the pycnocline. Mercator-Ocean global operational model with daily and 1/12 degree spatial resolution is shown to have skills in representing low frequency velocity variations (>1 month) in the West Spitsbergen Current and in the Yermak Pass. Model outputs suggest that the Yermak Pass Branch has had a robust winter pattern over the last 10 years, carrying on average 31% of the Atlantic Water volume transport of the West Spitsbergen Current (36% in autumn/winter). However those figures have to be considered with caution as the model neither simulates tides nor fully resolves eddies and ignores residual mean currents that could be significant.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/2017JC013271

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