Seasonal Variability of the Labrador Current and Shelf Circulation off Newfoundland

Han, Guoqi and Lu, Zhaoshi and Wang, Zeliang and Helbig, James and Chen, Nancy and de Young, Brad (2008) Seasonal Variability of the Labrador Current and Shelf Circulation off Newfoundland. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113 (10). pp. 1-23. ISSN 2156-2202

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Three-dimensional finite element models were established for the Newfoundland and Labrador Shelf to investigate climatological monthly mean wind- and density-driven circulation. The model was forced using wind stresses from the National Center for Environmental Prediction-National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis data prescribed at the sea surface, large-scale remote forcing determined from a North Atlantic model, monthly mean temperature and salinity climatology, and M2 tide on the open boundary. The model results were examined against various in situ observations (moored current meter, tide gauge, and vessel-mounted acoustic Doppler current profiler data) and satellite drift measurements and discussed together with literature information. The seasonal mean circulation solutions were investigated in terms of relative importance of wind to density forcing for the Labrador Current. The model results indicate significant seasonal and spatial variations, consistent generally with previous study results and in approximate agreement with observations for the major currents. The region is dominated by the equatorward flowing Labrador Current along the shelf edge and along the Labrador and Newfoundland coasts. The Labrador Current is strong in the fall/winter and weak in the spring/summer. The mean transport of the shelf edge Labrador Current is 7.5 Sv at the Seat Island transect and 5.5 Sv through the Flemish Pass. The seasonal ranges are 4.5 and 5.2 Sv at the two sections, respectively. Density- and wind-driven components are both important in the inshore Labrador Current. The density-driven component dominates the mean component of the shelf edge Labrador Current while the large-scale wind-forcing contributes significantly to its seasonal variability.

Item Type: Article
Item ID: 496
Keywords: Atmospheric temperature; Climate change; Mathematical models; Ocean currents; Wind effects; Wind stress; density current; finite element method; salinity; seasonal variation; shelf break; wind forcing; wind stress; wind-driven circulation
Department(s): Science, Faculty of > Physics and Physical Oceanography
Date: 8 October 2008
Date Type: Publication

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