Direct measurements of volume transports through Fram Strait
AbstractHeat and freshwater transports through Fram Strait are understood to have a significant influence on the hydrographic conditions in the Arctic Ocean and on water mass modifications in the Nordic seas. To determine these transports and their variability reliable estimates of the volume transport through the strait are required. Current meter moorings were deployed in Fram Strait from September 1997 to September 1999 in the framework of the EU MAST III Variability of Exchanges in the Northern Seas programme. The monthly mean velocity fields reveal marked velocity variations over seasonal and annual time scales, and the spatial structure of the northward flowing West Spitsbergen Current and the southward East Greenland Current with a maximum in spring and a minimum in summer. The volume transport obtained by averaging the monthly means over two years amounts to 9.5 ± 1.4 Sv to the north and 11.1 ± 1.7 Sv to the south (1 Sv = 106 m3s?1). The West Spitsbergen Current has a strong barotropic and a weaker baroclinic component; in the East Greenland Current barotropic and baroclinic components are of similar magnitude. The net transport through the strait is 4.2 ± 2.3 Sv to the south. The obtained northward and southward transports are significantly larger than earlier estimates in the literature; however, within its range of uncertainty the balance obtained from a two year average is consistent with earlier estimates.
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