Contribution of waters of Atlantic and Pacific origin in the Northeast Water Polynya

Article English OPEN
Falck, Eva (2001)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Polar Research (issn: 1751-8369, eissn: 1751-8369)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/polar.v20i2.6517
  • Subject:
    mesheuropmc: geographic locations

Measurements of nitrate and phosphate taken in the Northeast Water Polynya (NEWP) during the summer of 1993 have been used to identify the contribution of waters of Atlantic and Pacific origin in the polynya. Since waters from the northern Pacific exhibit a deficit in nitrate relative to phosphate due to denitrification in low oxygen waters, the relationship between nitrate and phosphate can be used to distinguish between oceanic waters of Pacific and Atlantic origin. The Pacific Water enters the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait and flows along the northern coasts of Alaska and Canada. Some of this water exits through Fram Strait and may therefore enter the polynya which is situated above the continental shelf off the north-eastern coast of Greenland. Compared to data from the Greenland Sea, which only show a N–P relationship of typical Atlantic Water, the data from the Northeast Water Polynya show that the upper waters of the polynya bear a clear signal of waters of Pacific origin. In the surface mixed layer an average of about 90 % is found to have Pacific N–P characteristics. Below the surface mixed layer the amount of Pacific derived water decreases through the halocline and from about 150 m to the bottom only typical Atlantic Water is found.
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