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High-Frequency Variability in the North Icelandic Jet

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We describe the high-frequency variability in the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ) on the Iceland Slope using data from the densely instrumented Kögur mooring array deployed upstream of the Denmark Strait sill from September 2011 to July 2012. Significant sub-8-day variability is ubiquitous in all moorings from the Iceland slope with a dominant period of 3.6 days. We attribute this variability to topographic Rossby waves on the Iceland slope with a wavelength of 62 ± 3 km and a phase velocity of 17.3 ± 0.8 km/day–1 directed downslope (–9° relative to true-north). We test the theoretical dispersion relation for these waves against our observations and find good agreement between the predicted and measured direction of phase propagation. We additionally calculate a theoretical group velocity of 36 km day–1 directed almost directly up-slope (106° relative to true-north) that agrees well with the propagation speed and direction of observed energy pulses. We use an inverse wave tracing model to show that this wave energy is generated locally, offshore of the array, and does not emanate from the upstream or downstream directions along the Iceland slope. It is hypothesized that either the meandering Separated East Greenland Current located seaward of the NIJ or intermittent aspiration of dense water into the Denmark Strait Overflow are the drivers of the topographic waves.
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Keywords: AMOC; DENMARK STRAIT; NORTH ICELANDIC JET; TOPOGRAPHIC WAVES

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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