Eddies and a mesoscale deflection of the slope current in the Faroe-Shetland Channel

T.J. Sherwin, W.R. Turrell, D.R.G. Jeans, S. Dye

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The mesoscale dynamics of the Scottish side of the Faroe-Shetland Channel have been investigated using synoptic in situ and remote sensing observations. A cold core cyclonic eddy, identified from an AVHRR image, had a diameter of about 50 km and surface current speeds of up to 50 cm s; it appeared to be attached to the 800 m isobath as it moved north-eastward along the edge of the channel at about 8 cm s. Speeds in the slope current were about 50 cm s but increased to 70 cm s where the current was compressed by the eddy. Offshore, over the 1000 m isobath in the cooler water, speeds in the current were slower (ca. 20 cm s). North-west of the Shetlands the offshore edge of the slope current was deflected across the channel for a distance of about 70 km from the shelf edge. The speed of drifters in the slope current increased to over 60 cm s as they moved anti-cyclonically around this deflection. CTD profiles suggest that the movement of the surface waters was mirrored in the deep water of the channel. The deflection carried a very large quantity of North Atlantic Water into the central part of the channel; its cause and ultimate fate are not known, although it is likely to have had a significant impact on the dynamics of the channel.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-438
Number of pages24
JournalDeep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1999

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