Geophysical Research Letters

Enhanced production of Labrador Sea Water in 2008

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Abstract

[1] A May 2008 oceanographic survey of the Labrador Sea and recent Argo float profiles have revealed that convective overturning extended to a depth of about 1600 m during the winter of 2008, resulting in the production of a large “year class” of Labrador Sea Water. This convection was the deepest since 1994, and substantially exceeded the convection to 500–1100 m in the past few years in both the Labrador and Irminger Seas. The resultant 0.2°C cooling of the intermediate-depth waters in the Labrador Sea has disrupted a steady warming of these waters since 1994. The cumulative heat loss from the ocean to the atmosphere during the 2007–2008 cooling season was the largest since the mid-1990s and exceeded the 2000–2007 mean by about 50%. This indicates that enhanced atmospheric cooling, apparently associated with below-normal air temperatures in the region, was the predominant factor contributing to the enhanced LSW production in 2008.

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