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Inter-annual Variability of the Current System off the West Greenland Coast from a very high-resolution numerical model
  • Ruijian Gou,
  • Clark Pennelly,
  • Paul G. Myers
Ruijian Gou
Key Laboratory of Physical Oceanography and Frontiers Science Center for Deep Ocean Multispheres and Earth System, Ocean University of China
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Clark Pennelly
University of Alberta
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Paul G. Myers
University of Alberta

Corresponding Author:pmyers@ualberta.ca

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Analyzing a high-resolution (1/60°) numerical model over 2008 to 2018, the inter-annual variability of the West Greenland Coastal Current (WGCC) on the shelf and West Greenland Current (WGC) at shelf break is presented. Both currents flow from Cape Farewell and extend to Davis Strait, with their model speeds and transports corresponding well with observations. The inter-annual variability of the WGCC and WGC near southwest Greenland are opposite, with the former declining while the latter strengthened, both by a speed change above 0.1 m/s. Both currents are predominantly buoyancy forced, but wind forcing becomes more dominant towards Davis Strait. The main exchanges from the two currents to interior occur between Cape Desolation and Fylla Bank, with net volume, freshwater, heat transport decreases of 1.4 Sv, 13 mSv, 36.7 TW. The freshwater transport of the WGC itself does not drop in between these sections, receiving freshwater from the WGCC to compensate for the losses to the basin interior. Thus, we see significant freshwater (83.1 mSv) and heat transports (70.7 TW) of the WGC remaining at Fylla Bank that reach the northern basin instead of being fluxed into the interior pof the Labrador Sea. This suggests that the exchange between the current system and the interior is more limited than previously thought, and most of the Greenland and Arctic melt reaches the northern Labrador Sea. Our results highlight the importance of resolving the WGCC and shelf processes.