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Propagation pathways of classical Labrador Sea water from its source region to 26°N
van Sebille, E.; Baringer, M.O.; Johns, W.E.; Meinen, C.S.; Beal, L.M.; de Jong, M.F.; van Aken, H.M. (2011). Propagation pathways of classical Labrador Sea water from its source region to 26°N. J. Geophys. Res. 116. dx.doi.org/10.1029/2011JC007171
In: Journal of Geophysical Research. American Geophysical Union: Richmond. ISSN 0148-0227, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • van Sebille, E.
  • Baringer, M.O.
  • Johns, W.E.
  • Meinen, C.S.
  • Beal, L.M.
  • de Jong, M.F., more
  • van Aken, H.M., more

Abstract
    More than two decades of hydrography on the Abaco line east of the Bahamas at 26 degrees N reveals decadal variability in the salinity of classical Labrador Sea Water (cLSW), despite the long distance from its source region in the North Atlantic Ocean. Hydrographic time series from the Labrador Sea and from the Abaco line show a pronounced step-like decrease in salinity between 1985 and 1995 in the Labrador Sea and between 1995 and 2010 at the Abaco line, suggesting a time lag between the two locations of approximately 9 years. The amplitude of the anomaly at the Abaco line is 50% of the amplitude in the Labrador Sea. A similar time lag and reduction of amplitude is found in the high-resolution OFES model, in which salinity anomalies can be observed propagating through the Deep Western Boundary Current as well as through a broad interior pathway. On its way south to the Abaco line, the cLSW becomes 8 standard deviations saltier due to isopycnal mixing with Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW). Climatological data in the North Atlantic suggests that the mixing ratio of MOW to cLSW at the Abaco line is 1:4 and that no variability in MOW is required to explain the observed variability at the Abaco line. The data studied here suggest that decadal cLSW anomalies stay relatively coherent while getting advected, despite the important role of interior pathways.

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