Articles | Volume 15, issue 7
Research article
09 Apr 2018
Research article |  | 09 Apr 2018

Water mass distributions and transports for the 2014 GEOVIDE cruise in the North Atlantic

Maribel I. García-Ibáñez, Fiz F. Pérez, Pascale Lherminier, Patricia Zunino, Herlé Mercier, and Paul Tréguer

Abstract. We present the distribution of water masses along the GEOTRACES-GA01 section during the GEOVIDE cruise, which crossed the subpolar North Atlantic Ocean and the Labrador Sea in the summer of 2014. The water mass structure resulting from an extended optimum multiparameter (eOMP) analysis provides the framework for interpreting the observed distributions of trace elements and their isotopes. Central Waters and Subpolar Mode Waters (SPMW) dominated the upper part of the GEOTRACES-GA01 section. At intermediate depths, the dominant water mass was Labrador Sea Water, while the deep parts of the section were filled by Iceland–Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) and North-East Atlantic Deep Water. We also evaluate the water mass volume transports across the 2014 OVIDE line (Portugal to Greenland section) by combining the water mass fractions resulting from the eOMP analysis with the absolute geostrophic velocity field estimated through a box inverse model. This allowed us to assess the relative contribution of each water mass to the transport across the section. Finally, we discuss the changes in the distribution and transport of water masses between the 2014 OVIDE line and the 2002–2010 mean state. At the upper and intermediate water levels, colder end-members of the water masses replaced the warmer ones in 2014 with respect to 2002–2010, in agreement with the long-term cooling of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre that started in the mid-2000s. Below 2000 dbar, ISOW increased its contribution in 2014 with respect to 2002–2010, with the increase being consistent with other estimates of ISOW transports along 58–59° N. We also observed an increase in SPMW in the East Greenland Irminger Current in 2014 with respect to 2002–2010, which supports the recent deep convection events in the Irminger Sea. From the assessment of the relative water mass contribution to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) across the OVIDE line, we conclude that the larger AMOC intensity in 2014 compared to the 2002–2010 mean was related to both the increase in the northward transport of Central Waters in the AMOC upper limb and to the increase in the southward flow of Irminger Basin SPMW and ISOW in the AMOC lower limb.

Final-revised paper