The circulation of the Norwegian Sea- An investigation from space and ocean
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- Geophysical Institute 
The Norwegian Sea circulation plays a key role in maintaining the mild climate of the northwestern Europe via the transport of warm Atlantic Water pole-ward. The first paper addresses the advective currents connecting the two branches of the Norwegian Atlantic Current and shows the general spin up of the Norwegian Sea circulation during winter with the exception of the flow over the Mohn Ridge. The variability in the surface velocities in the Norwegian Sea is found to be deep reaching, which supports the use of altimetry to monitor the variability of the poleward transport of Atlantic Water. A strengthening and weakening of the Atlantic inflow east of the Faroe Islands has a consistent response along the entire slope current. However, a stronger western inflow, observed north of the Faroe Islands, is associated with more flow of Atlantic Water into the slope current. This finding suggest that a substantial fraction of Atlantic Water that eventually enters the Barents Sea or the Arctic through the Fram Strait, may originate from the western inflowing branch of Atlantic Water to the Nordic Seas, and that the two branches of northward flowing Atlantic Water cannot be considered as separate flows. Paper 2 examines the influence of the surface circulation, eddy activity and local heat loss on the spatial distribution and temporal evolution of dense water formation in the Lofoten Basin. Evidence of intrusion of Atlantic Water into the central Lofoten Basin due to buoyant waters in the eastern part of the basin is found. With the support of hydrographic and satellite datasets, the concept of separate western and eastern regions of the Lofoten Basin is introduced and a link between the western Lofoten Basin and Faroe Shetland overflow waters is identified. Paper 3 addresses an anomalous anticyclonic vortex in the Nordic Seas, which is situated in the western Lofoten Basin. The vortex’ surface and vertical characteristics on seasonal, inter-annual, and climatological time-scales are quantified, relevant forcing mechanisms are addressed, and its uniqueness in the Nordic Seas is documented. In the final paper, a new mean dynamic topography (MDT) is estimated for the North Atlantic and the Arctic from the Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite gravity anomaly data. The new GOCE-based MDT is assessed and compared to independent steric height observations, other state-of-the-art MDTs and three coupled sea-ice-ocean models, showing its usefulness in studies of high latitude ocean circulation.
Has partsPaper I: Raj, R. P., J. E. Ø. Nilsen and T. Furevik (2013): The two-branch structure of the Norwegian Atlantic Current-transport variability and connecting flows. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, in revision. Full-text not available in BORA.
Paper II: Raj, R. P., and J. E. Ø. Nilsen (2013): Processes influencing the dense water formation in the Lofoten Basin. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, in revision. Full-text not available in BORA.
Paper III: Raj, R. P., L. Chafik, J. E. Ø. Nilsen and T. Eldevik (2013): The Lofoten vortex of the Nordic Seas. Deep Sea Research, Part 1, in revision. Full-text not available in BORA.
Paper IV: Johannessen, J.A., R. P. Raj, J. E. Ø. Nilsen, T. Pripp, P. Knudsen, F. Counillon, L. Bertino, D. Stammer, N. Serra and N. Koldunov (2013): Towards improved estimation of the dynamic topography and ocean circulation in the high latitude and Arctic Ocean: The importance of GOCE, in The Earth's Hydrological Cycle. Surveys in Geophysics, in press. Full-text not available in BORA. The published version is available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10712-013-9270-y