Seasonal variability of the warm Atlantic water layer in the vicinity of the Greenland shelf break

Jeremy P. Grist, Simon A. Josey, Lars Boehme, Michael P. Meredith, Kristin Laidre, Mads Peter Heide-Jorgensen, Kit Kovacs, Christian Lydersen, Fraser Davidson, Garry Stenson, Mike Hammill, Robert Marsh, Andrew Coward

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The warmest water reaching the east and west coast of Greenland is found between 200 m and 600 m. Whilst important for melting Greenland's outlet glaciers, limited winter observations of this layer prohibit determination of its seasonality. To address this, temperature data from Argo profiling floats, a range of sources within the World Ocean Database and unprecedented coverage from marine-mammal borne sensors have been analysed for the period 2002-2011. A significant seasonal range in temperature (~1-2 °C) is found in the warm layer, in contrast to most of the surrounding ocean. The phase of the seasonal cycle exhibits considerable spatial variability, with the warmest water found near the eastern and southwestern shelf-break towards the end of the calendar year. High-resolution ocean model trajectory analysis suggest the timing of the arrival of the year's warmest water is a function of advection time from the subduction site in the Irminger Basin.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8530-8537
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number23
Early online date11 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2014


  • Ocean temperature
  • Greenland shelf
  • Seasonal cycle
  • Observations
  • Sea mammal
  • Trajectory analysis


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