EGU21-3070, updated on 03 Mar 2021
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Interpreting the observed variability of deep waters in the Irminger Sea

Eva Prieto, Damien Desbruyères, and Virginie Thierry
Eva Prieto et al.
  • IFREMER - Centre Bretagne, Laboratoire d'Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), Plouzané, France (

Temperature and salinity seasonal to interannual variability of Iceland Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) and Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW) is investigated by combining two in-situ datasets in the Irminger Sea for the period 1997-2020: 12-yr of repeated hydrography (1997-2018) provided by the FOUREX, OVIDE and RREX sections and 4-yr of data (2016-2020) from 8 Deep Argo floats deployed in the region between 2016 and 2018.

In order to enable a consistent analysis of ocean temperature and salinity variability from unevenly distributed vertical profiles (both in space and time), it is necessary to estimate the appropriate regional climatology to be removed from every observation. Two independent procedures are followed to compute anomalies and quantify uncertainties related to the choice of climatology: First, the global 1°-resolution World Ocean Atlas 2018 (2005-2017 averages) climatology is retrieved from every observed profile (Deep Argo, hydrography). Second, the well-known and sampled OVIDE transect (2002-2018 average) is used to build a reference section of geographical anomalies that are subsequently propagated along potential vorticity contours in the Irminger Sea. Neutral density surfaces 28.02 kgm-3 and 28.12 kgm-3 are then chosen from mean OVIDE 2002-2018 gridded fields as representative of ISOW and DSOW levels, respectively. Significant decadal trends in water mass properties are revealed by repeated hydrography, whereas some striking boundary-interior spatial patterns are captured by Deep Argo floats. Property changes of ISOW and DSOW are discussed in terms of changes of source waters in the Nordic Seas, entrainment of Atlantic waters into the overflow waters and cascading events from the Greenland slope.


How to cite: Prieto, E., Desbruyères, D., and Thierry, V.: Interpreting the observed variability of deep waters in the Irminger Sea, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-3070,, 2021.


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