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Mean currents and current variability in the Iceland Basin
van Aken, H.M. (1995). Mean currents and current variability in the Iceland Basin. Neth. J. Sea Res. 33(2): 135-145
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • van Aken, H.M.

    Long-term (>6 months) current measurements from five moorings in the Iceland Basin have been analysed for the mean currents and the structure of the variabie current components. The time-averaged flow at all five moorings had a strong baroclinic character. The mean circulation in the upper layers with relatively warm Sub-Polar Mode Water appears to have a general north-eastward direction with maximum mean velocities of 6 to 1 cm·s-1. In the bottom layer south of Iceland, where the cold Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water flows westwards along the topography in a Deep Northern Boundary Current, mean velocities of the order of 10 to 20 cm·s-1 have been observed. Over the deep slope of the Hatton Bank, water enters the Iceland Basin in a branch of the Deep Northern Boundary Current which has a cyclonic rotation sense in the Iceland Basin. The variable part of the current has been analysed by means of principal-component analysis. The current variations in the central Iceland Basin appear to have a mainly barotropic character while variations in the baroclinic flow of Iceland-Scotland Overflow Water contributed 10% or less to the total energy of the variable deep flow. Over the slope of the Hatton Bank the variable currents had a mainly baroclinic character with shear in both current speed and direction. Comparison of the geostrophic velocity with the mean Eulerian velocity has revealed that the σΘ=27.725 kg·m-1 surface can be used adequately as levelof no-motion for the geostrophic modelling of the flow along the Icelandic and Hatton slopes. The mean westward geostrophic transport of ISOW south of Iceland relative to this reference surface amounted to 3.5 Sv, in agreement with existing independent estimates.

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