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Slantwise Convection in the Irminger Sea

Le Bras, I. A.-A. and Callies, J. and Straneo, F. and Biló, T. C. and Holte, J. and Johnson, H. L. (2022) Slantwise Convection in the Irminger Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research. Oceans, 127 (10). Art. No. e2022JC019071. ISSN 2169-9275. doi:10.1029/2022jc019071.

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The subpolar North Atlantic is a site of significant carbon dioxide, oxygen, and heat exchange with the atmosphere. This exchange, which regulates transient climate change and prevents large-scale hypoxia throughout the North Atlantic, is thought to be mediated by vertical mixing in the ocean's surface mixed layer. Here we present observational evidence that waters deeper than the conventionally defined mixed layer are affected directly by atmospheric forcing in this region. When northerly winds blow along the Irminger Sea's western boundary current, the Ekman response pushes denser water over lighter water, potentially triggering slantwise convection. We estimate that this down-front wind forcing is four times stronger than air–sea heat flux buoyancy forcing and can mix waters to several times the conventionally defined mixed layer depth. Slantwise convection is not included in most large-scale ocean models, which likely limits their ability to accurately represent subpolar water mass transformations and deep ocean ventilation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemDiscussion Paper
Le Bras, I. A.-A.0000-0003-0952-1446
Callies, J.0000-0002-6815-1230
Straneo, F.0000-0002-1735-2366
Biló, T. C.0000-0002-4007-5862
Holte, J.0000-0002-3451-7572
Johnson, H. L.0000-0003-1873-2085
Additional Information:I. A.-A. Le Bras, F. Straneo, T. C. Biló, and J. Holte gratefully acknowledge the US National Science Foundation (NSF): this work was supported by grants OCE-1258823, OCE-1756272, OCE-1948335, and OCE-2038481. J. Callies gratefully acknowledges NSF support through grant OCE-1924354. H. L. Johnson was supported by the SNAP-DRAGON program (UK Natural Environment Research Council grant number NE/T013494/1). The authors gratefully acknowledge the many scientists and mariners who went to sea to collect the observational data, and Bob Pickart in particular.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/T013494/1
Issue or Number:10
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20221017-12657600.22
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:117461
Deposited By: Research Services Depository
Deposited On:18 Oct 2022 22:06
Last Modified:18 Oct 2022 22:06

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