No inter-gyre pathway for sea-surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Recent Lagrangian analyses of surface drifters have questioned the existence of a surface current connecting the Gulf Stream (GS) to the subpolar gyre (SPG) and have cast doubt on the mechanism underlying an apparent pathway for sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies between the two regions. Here we use modelled Lagrangian trajectories to determine the fate of surface GS water and satellite SST data to analyse pathways of GS SST anomalies. Our results show that only a small fraction of the surface GS water reaches the SPG, the water that does so mainly travels below the surface mixed layer, and GS SST anomalies do not propagate into the SPG on interannual timescales. Instead, the inter-gyre heat transport as part of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation must be accomplished via subsurface pathways. We conclude that the SST in the SPG cannot be predicted by tracking SST anomalies along the GS.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Foukal, NP; Lozier, MS

Published Date

  • April 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 7 /

Start / End Page

  • 11333 -

PubMed ID

  • 27103496

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4844697

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2041-1723

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2041-1723

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/ncomms11333


  • eng