Renske Gelderloos, 14 May 2012, 2:30 pm, University Hall, Domplein 29, Utrecht
Promotor: Prof.dr. W.P.M. de Ruijter
Co-promotor: Dr. C.A. Katsman, KNMI
The Labrador Sea, located in the northwestern North Atlantic Ocean, is one of the few locations in the world where in wintertime surface water is mixed with water at depth. In this process, known as deep convection or deep water formation, a homogeneous water mass called ‘Labrador Sea Water’ (LSW) is formed. The amount of LSW formed varies
considerably from one winter to another, up to an order of magnitude variation. This variability is often linked to the NAO index, which (partly) explains variations in atmospheric winter conditions over the Labrador Sea. Although a very harsh winter is a necessary condition for LSW formation, it is not sufficient. The water properties in the upper layers of the Labrador Sea, which are set by the characteristics of the boundary currents that advect water from subtropical and polar regions, as well as the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere play a vital role in determining the convection depth. We have done two process studies, which have given more insight into the modulating role of the ocean in convection and the subsequent restratification process. Furthermore, we have shown that satellite altimeters can be used to detect newly-formed LSW, which opens up opportunities for a better monitoring system of this important process.