Mass, salt, and heat transport across seven latitude circles in the North Atlantic Ocean: a description of the general circulation based on geostrophic calculations from international geophysical year and adjacent data
Baker, Timothy L.
Jung, Glenn H.
von Schwind, Joseph J.
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This report using data from a five-year period, including the International Geophysical Year (1954-1959), presents a detailed analysis of several aspects of the physical oceanography of the North Atlantic Ocean. Assuming the geostrophic approximation to be valid, a level of no motion was established by satisfying the requirement of mass and salt continuity across seven latitude sections from 8 degrees N to 48 degrees N, with each latitude section providing comprehensive temperature and salinity data extending from coast to coast and from the sea surface to the ocean floor. Based on this level of no motion, net meridional heat transport values were determined for each latitude section and compared with those of previous studies for the North Atlantic Ocean and the Northern Hemisphere. The results of this comparison indicate that the inclusion of the heat transported to the bottom peripheral areas did not affect the overall flux of heat to any appreciable degree when compared to results proposed by Jung (1974-1976) using the same data ignoring the bottom area. Also it is seen that the meridional heat transport during the I.G.Y. was anomalously low when compared to values from 1955-1973. Lastly, a general circulation pattern is developed from mass transport values for each of three layers of water: Upper Water, Intermediate Water and Deep and Bottom Water. These circulation patterns are also compared with past descriptions of the general circulation; most notably, those of Sverdrup, et al (1942), Jung (1955) and Worthington (1976). The circulation patterns find good support with all three authors in the Upper and Intermediate Waters, but sharp contrasts exist between the deep and bottom circulation and that proposed by Worthington for his Deep Layer Strong support for the pattern developed in the study is provided, however, by the works of Schmitz (1977) and Tucholke, Wright and Hollister (1973).
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NPS Report NumberNPS68-78-004
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