S193 Tracking Irminger Water Through Eastern Baffin Bay and Its Potential Impacts on Glacier Melt in Northwest Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago

Sunday, 22 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Sarah K. Howard, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; and X. Hu, N. Grivault, and P. G. Myers

Handout (2.7 MB)

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) has a large concentration of glaciers and small ice sheets, making it the third largest ice-covered area in the world after Antarctica and Greenland. Studies have shown that the influx of modified Irminger Water, sourced from the Atlantic, has influenced and expedited the retreat of glaciers in southern Greenland. In this study, we examine the path of Irminger Water that enters Baffin Bay through Davis Strait, and whether it also reaches the glaciers of NW Greenland and the CAA. First, historical observations from the 1910s to present were analyzed. This data was sourced from the Marine Environmental Data Service (MEDS) and the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) databases. Through these observations, Irminger Water is found throughout Baffin Bay, with a stronger presence in more recent years. The Irminger Water is also observed in the CAA, entering Parry Channel and Nares Strait. To examine the sources and entrance of the Irminger Water into the region, an eddy permitting numerical model (the ANHA4 configuration of the NEMO framework) is studied, with particular attention paid to tracking the Irminger Water flowing north through Davis Strait. The model analysis and observations compared well, suggesting that deep troughs in the west Greenland continental shelf are the main conduits for Irminger Water to reach coastal fjords in NW Greenland and the CAA.
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