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The dense overflow waters of the Nordic Seas are an integral link and important diagnostic for the stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The pathways feeding the overflow remain, however, poorly resolved. Here we use multiple observational platforms and an eddy-resolving ocean model to identify an unrecognized deep flow toward the Faroe Bank Channel. We demonstrate that anticyclonic wind forcing in the Nordic Seas via its regulation of the basin circulation plays a key role in activating an unrecognized overflow path from the Norwegian slope – at which times the overflow is anomalously strong. We further establish that, regardless of upstream pathways, the overflows are mostly carried by a deep jet banked against the eastern slope of the Faroe-Shetland Channel, contrary to previous thinking. This deep flow is thus the primary conduit of overflow water feeding the lower branch of the AMOC via the Faroe Bank Channel.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.