Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Oceanic circulation: Heat loss strengthens the gyre circulation

Date:
June 8, 2012
Source:
University of Bergen
Summary:
A new study explains decadal variations in the oceanic circulation south of Greenland and Iceland. 

A new study from the Bjerknes Centre explains decadal variations in the oceanic circulation south of Greenland and Iceland.

South of Greenland and Iceland the oceanic circulation goes mainly anti-clockwise, similar to the winds around a low-pressure system in the atmosphere.

This oceanic circulation is called the subpolar gyre. An observational study shows that when the subpolar gyre strengthens, warmer and more saline water masses will be carried northward toward the Norwegian coastline (Hátún et al. 2005, Science).

From warm to cold water masses

The continuation of the Gulf Stream -- the North Atlantic Current -- carries warm and saline water masses northward. To reach the Norwegian Coastline, the current must cross an ocean ridge that stretches from the southernmost part of Greenland to Scotland (the Greenland -- Scotland Ridge). The warm Atlantic water masses changes properties in the ocean between Greenland and Norway (the Nordic Seas) before they return southward. Cold Arctic winds and freshwater input gives the water masses an Arctic character. The Bergen Climate Model simulates the exchange of Atlantic and Arctic water masses over the ocean ridge surprisingly realistic.

The returning cold current continues southward in the deep ocean along the American continental slope. This current does not only consist of Arctic water masses spilling over the ocean ridge, but also of cold water masses produced in the Labrador Sea between, Greenland and Canada. The production of these water masses increases when the Icelandic low pressure is stronger than normal and cold Arctic winds blow over the Labrador Sea.

Gyre circulation strengthens when the return current of cold water masses increases

The oceanic circulation south of Greenland and Iceland (the subpolar gyre) strengthens both when the Arctic transport over the ocean ridge increases and with stronger production of cold water masses in the Labrador Sea.

By combining the variations in these two factors with the variations in the wind over the ocean between Canada and England, the scientists from Bjerknes can explain about half of the decadal variations in the subpolar gyre.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Bergen. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Helene R. Langehaug, Iselin Medhaug, Tor Eldevik, Odd Helge Otter. Arctic/Atlantic Exchanges via the Subpolar Gyre*. Journal of Climate, 2012; 25 (7): 2421 DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00085.1
  2. H. Hatun. Influence of the Atlantic Subpolar Gyre on the Thermohaline Circulation. Science, 2005; 309 (5742): 1841 DOI: 10.1126/science.1114777

Cite This Page:

University of Bergen. "Oceanic circulation: Heat loss strengthens the gyre circulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120608100555.htm>.
University of Bergen. (2012, June 8). Oceanic circulation: Heat loss strengthens the gyre circulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120608100555.htm
University of Bergen. "Oceanic circulation: Heat loss strengthens the gyre circulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120608100555.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) — Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins