Dynamics of Transport and Variability in the Denmark Strait Overflow
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE APPLIED PHYSICS LAB
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Through the Denmark Strait flows one of the most remarkable currents of the worlds oceans. Roughly 3 million cubic meters per second of dense water formed in the Nordic and Arctic Seas spills over the ridge between Greenland and Iceland and cascades more than 2000 m downwards into the North Atlantic supplying a deep boundary current system that extends through the Labrador Sea, down the eastern coast of North America, across the equator and into the South Atlantic. Recognizable characteristics of the resulting North Atlantic Deep Water NADW are seen through-out the Pacific and Indian oceans, making up the lower limb of the great ocean conveyor belt Broecker, 19911. The Denmark Strait is one of the most geographically- confined locations along this entire path, and so is a region of great interest to re- searchers interested in understanding the forcing and modifications of the overturning circulation by its individual components, as well as to those interested in monitoring the strength of the circulation on long timescales. In addition, physical processes such as entrainment and bottom drag occur in many similar density currents and overflows, so that knowledge obtained in one can often be applied to others. In this dissertation I will first outline the justifications for and results of previous work and then describe the results of a new set of measurements designed to illuminate some of the details of processes at work in the Denmark Strait Overflow DSO.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography