Evidence of a Slope Jet Transporting Dense Water toward the Faroe Bank Channel

Stefanie Semper1, Robert S Pickart2, Kjetil Våge1, Karin Margretha Husgard Larsen3, Bogi Hansen3 and Hjálmar Hátún3, (1)Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway, (2)Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA, United States, (3)Faroe Marine Research Institute, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
The densest overflow water from the Nordic Seas passes through the Faroe Bank Channel and contributes to the headwaters to the lower limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. The upstream pathways of this dense overflow water are not well known. Using data from a high-resolution hydrographic/velocity survey in 2011, as well as long-term moored velocity and shipboard hydrographic measurements north of the Faroe Islands, we present evidence of a current following the continental slope from Iceland toward the Faroe Bank Channel. This narrow current, which we call the Iceland-Faroe Slope Jet (IFSJ), is bottom-intensified and associated with dense water banked up on the slope. North of the Faroe Islands the IFSJ is situated beneath the Faroe Current, and its variability is tightly linked to the flow of Atlantic Water above. The bulk of the IFSJ’s volume transport is confined to a small area in ϴ-S space centered near a potential density anomaly of 28.06 kg m-3. This is slightly denser than the transport mode of the North Icelandic Jet, which follows shallower isobaths along the slope north of Iceland in the opposite direction and feeds the Denmark Strait overflow. However, the similarity of the hydrographic properties suggests that the two currents have a common source. The average transport of water denser than σϴ = 27.8 kg m-3 in the IFSJ is on the order of 1 Sv, which may account for roughly 50% of the overflow through the Faroe Bank Channel.