Sources and fate of freshwater exported in the East Greenland Current

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Abstract

[1] Monitoring the sources and fate of freshwater in the East Greenland Current (EGC) is important, as this water has the potential to suppress deep convection in the Nordic and Labrador Seas if the outflow of freshwater from the Arctic Ocean increases in response to climate change. Here, hydrographic, oxygen isotope ratio and dissolved barium concentration sections across Denmark Strait collected in 1998 and 1999 are used to determine the freshwater composition of the EGC at these times. Comparison of meltwater fluxes at Denmark Strait and Fram Strait indicates a net melting of sea ice into the EGC between these two locations, with a significant proportion of sea ice drifting into the Nordic Seas or on to the East Greenland Shelf. We conclude that the phase of freshwater exiting the Arctic Ocean through Fram Strait is important in determining its possible impact on deep water formation in the Nordic and Labrador Seas.

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