Posts Tagged ‘East Greenland Current’

Discovery of Icelandic ocean current unsettles “settled” climate theories

August 23, 2011

So much for settled science.

A new paper overturns previous thinking that the East Greenland Current was the main source of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The newly discovered North Icelandic Jet (NIJ) is now thought to dominate the return of dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge to keep the “great ocean conveyor belt” moving.

Kjetil Våge, Robert S. Pickart, Michael A. Spall, Héðinn Valdimarsson, Steingrímur Jónsson, Daniel J. Torres, Svein Østerhus & Tor Eldevik. Significant role of the North Icelandic Jet in the formation of Denmark Strait overflow waterNature Geoscience, 21 August 2011 DOI:10.1038/ngeo1234

graphic by Reuters

 Science Daily reports:

ScienceDaily (Aug. 21, 2011) — An international team of researchers, including physical oceanographers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), has confirmed the presence of a deep-reaching ocean circulation system off Iceland that could significantly influence the ocean’s response to climate change in previously unforeseen ways. 

The current, called the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ), contributes to a key component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), also known as the “great ocean conveyor belt,” which is critically important for regulating Earth’s climate. As part of the planet’s reciprocal relationship between ocean circulation and climate, this conveyor belt transports warm surface water to high latitudes where the water warms the air, then cools, sinks, and returns towards the equator as a deep flow.

Crucial to this warm-to-cold oceanographic choreography is the Denmark Strait Overflow Water (DSOW), the largest of the deep, overflow plumes that feed the lower limb of the conveyor belt and return the dense water south through gaps in the Greenland-Scotland Ridge.

For years it has been thought that the primary source of the Denmark Overflow is a current adjacent to Greenland known as the East Greenland Current. However, this view was recently called into question by two oceanographers from Iceland who discovered a deep current flowing southward along the continental slope of Iceland. They named the current the North Icelandic Jet and hypothesized that it formed a significant part of the overflow water.

Now, in a paper published in the Aug. 21 online issue of the journal Nature Geoscience, the team of researchers — including the two Icelanders who discovered it — has confirmed that the Icelandic Jet is not only a major contributor to the DSOW but “is the primary source of the densest overflow water.” ……..

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