Decreasing overflow from the Nordic seas into the Atlantic Ocean through the Faroe Bank channel since 1950

Bogi Hansen, William R. Turrell, Svein Østerhus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The overflow of cold, dense water from the Nordic seas, across the Greenland–Scotland ridge1 and into the Atlantic Ocean is the main source for the deep water of the North Atlantic Ocean2. This flow also helps drive the inflow of warm, saline surface water into the Nordic seas1. The Faroe Bank channel is the deepest path across the ridge, and the deep flow through this channel accounts for about one-third of the total overflow1,2. Previous work has demonstrated that the overflow has become warmer and less saline3,4 over time. Here we show, using direct measurements and historical hydrographic data, that the volume flux of the Faroe Bank channel overflow has also decreased. Estimating the volume flux conservatively, we find a decrease by at least 20 per cent relative to 1950. If this reduction in deep flow from the Nordic seas is not compensated by increased flow from other sources, it implies a weakened global thermohaline circulation and reduced inflow of Atlantic water to the Nordic seas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-930
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume411
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2001

Keywords

  • Faroe Bank channel
  • Atlantic ocean
  • Nordic seas

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