The importance of the circulation of fresh water within the Nordic Seas has frequently been pointed out, especially its effect on deep water formation and therefore possibly on the thermohaline circulation. The main source of fresh water is the East Greenland Current entering the Nordic Seas through Fram Strait. The Jan Mayen Polar Current and the East Icelandic Current (EIC) carry a part of the fresh water into the Greenland and Iceland Seas respectively. As a part of the EU project VEINS, Aanderaa current meters were deployed on two moorings within the EIC from June 1997 to June 1998 on a standard CTD section from Langanes, Northeast Iceland, to the central Iceland Sea in the direction towards Jan Mayen. The current was mainly concentrated along the slope where it was baroclinic, while over the deeper part a weak barotropic flow was observed. Geostrophic calculations, referenced to the current meter data, were used for estimating the volume flux and fresh water transport with the current. The total transport over the section towards the east was found to be 2.5 Sv. The fresh water transport relative to a salinity of 34.93, above 170 m, amounted to 5.5 mSv. This is roughly 4% of the fresh water transport through Fram Strait. This transport is put into a long-term perspective using hydrographic data from the Langanes section.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author thanks his colleagues at the Marine Research Institute for help with the field work and initial data processing and the crew of the research vessels of the MRI for help at sea. Support for this work was provided by the European Union through the VEINS project (MAST IV). A grant from the Research fund of the University of Akureyri is acknowledged.
- East Icelandic Current
- Fresh water
- Iceland Sea
- Slope current