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Modelling Sources of Stratification within the Labrador Sea

  • Author / Creator
    Pennelly, Clark
  • The Labrador Sea experiences deep convection, a process where the oceans’ surface cools to the point where it may become more dense than the water at depth, promoting sinking and vertical mixing. This mixing can exceed 2000m in depth, producing a large volume of deep water, a crucial component in the meridional overturning circulation of heat and gases. Deep convection and subsequent water mass formation is heavily influenced by stratification. Sources that remove/supply buoyancy act to erode/strengthen the stratification of the Labrador Sea. This thesis investigates sources that modify the stratification of the Labrador Sea by using an ocean circulation model, NEMO. I first identify regions around the Labrador Sea where relatively buoyant freshwater leaves the boundary currents and enters the interior basin (Chapter 4). I find that while turbulent flow (eddies and meanders) drives freshwater offshore around the whole Labrador Sea, only the west coast of Greenland and the southern Labrador Coast have a net offshore flux of freshwater. I show differences between atmospheric datasets (up to 12 W m-2) when used to force the NEMO model can drive Labrador Sea Water to vary in both its volume production as well as density (Chapter 5). I produced a complex numerical configuration capable of resolving sub-mesoscale processes (Chapter 3) and used the output to investigate eddies which spawn along the west coast of Greenland. I explore the evolution of these long lived eddies, noting how their stratification changes over their lifetime. While originally strongly stratified, they may encounter such conditions that promote Labrador Sea Water to be formed within their eddy core before their decay (Chapter 6).

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2021
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-2tvx-mj54
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.