Water mass analysis for the U.S. GEOTRACES (GA03) North Atlantic sections Academic Article uri icon


  • We present the distributions of hydrographic properties (potential temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen, and micromolar level inorganic macronutrients) along two sections occupied in the subtropical North Atlantic as part of the first U.S. GEOTRACES (GA03) survey during 2010 and 2011. The purpose of this work is to place subsequent papers in this special issue in a general context and to provide a framework in which the observed distributions of Trace Elements and Isotopes can be interpreted. Using these hydrographic properties we use a modified Optimum Multiparameter water mass analysis method to diagnose the relative contributions of various water types along the sections and rationalize their distributions. The water mass compositions appear largely consistent with what is understood from previous studies about the large scale circulation and ventilation of the North Atlantic, with perhaps one exception. We found that the North Atlantic Deep water both east and west of the Mid Atlantic Ridge is more strongly influenced by Iceland Scotland Overflow Water relative to Denmark Straits Overflow Water (about 3:1) than inferred from other tracer studies (typically 2:1). It remains unclear whether this is an artifact of our calculation or a real change in deep water composition in the decades between the determinations. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • June 2015