Modelling twentieth century global ocean circulation and iceberg flux at 48°N: Implications for west Greenland iceberg discharge

Wilton, David j., Bigg, Grant R. and Hanna, Edward (2015) Modelling twentieth century global ocean circulation and iceberg flux at 48°N: Implications for west Greenland iceberg discharge. Progress in Oceanography, 138 (A). pp. 194-210. ISSN 0079-6611

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We have used a coupled ocean-iceberg model to study the variation in global ocean circulation and North Atlantic iceberg flux from 1900 to 2008. The latter component of the study focused particularly on Greenland icebergs feeding into the Labrador Current and past Newfoundland. The model was forced with daily heat, freshwater and wind fluxes from the Twentieth Century Reanalysis. The reanalysis heat fluxes were shown to be offset from the, shorter, NCEP reanalysis and a grid-point correction was applied to this component of the forcing. The model produces a generally realistic ocean circulation, although with an enhanced Atlantic Meridional Overturning largely due to the forcing. The modelled iceberg flux at 48°N is well correlated with the long-term observed flux when using a modelled iceberg discharge that varies in a similar fashion to the highly variable observed flux at 48°N. From this model we infer changes in the spatial and temporal variability of iceberg calving from western Greenland. During the first third of the twentieth century the majority of modelled icebergs reaching 48°N derive from southern Greenland, while only after 1930 is the traditional perspective of a majority of such icebergs originating from Baffin Bay consistent with model results. Decadal-scale changes in the dominant regional sources are found, with oscillations between western Greenland and northern Baffin Bay. The latter origin was modelled to be most important in the last third of the twentieth century, although west Greenland sources have increased in importance in recent years. The model correctly reproduces the pronounced late spring peak in flux at 48°N for southern Greenland icebergs, but has an approximately six month offset for icebergs from Baffin Bay, most likely due to resolution issues leading to model icebergs not being delayed in shallow coastal waters, whereas in reality they may be grounded for some time or trapped in coastal sea-ice. © 2015 The Authors.

Additional Information:Open Access funded by Natural Environment Research Council
Keywords:Discharge (fluid mechanics), Oceanography, Coastal sea ices, Global ocean circulation, Iceberg discharges, Labrador Current, Ocean circulation, Regional sources, Spatial and temporal variability, Twentieth century, Sea ice, climate forcing, coastal water, iceberg, meridional circulation, temporal variation, Arctic Ocean, Baffin Bay Arctic Ocean, Canada, Greenland Sea, Newfoundland and Labrador, Norwegian Sea, JCOpen
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F330 Environmental Physics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Geography
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ID Code:25976
Deposited On:17 Feb 2017 12:04

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