Pathways of inflow and dispersion of warm waters in the Nordic seas

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In this study, we use 22 acoustically tracked RAFOS floats to examine the routes and spreading of warm North Atlantic waters entering the Norwegian Sea between Iceland and the Faroes. The majority of floats crossed the Iceland-Faroe Ridge at the eastern end where it is deepest. They joined the Iceland-Faroe Front, but rather than continue north with the outer branch of the Norwegian Atlantic Current into the Nordic seas, most of them jumped over to the inner branch, which continues the inflow through the Faroe-Shetland Channel northeast over the Vøring Plateau toward the Lofoten Basin. Indeed, 17 floats, whether deployed near Iceland or the Faroes, did so; only 2 floats continued north along the outer branch. Despite the small numbers, these results highlight (1) the strong influence of topography on flow patterns, (2) the strong crossover of Iceland-Faroes waters to the inner branch, and (3) the rapid and structured spreading into the Nordic seas. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans