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Oceanic warming of western Europe

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  • Physical Sciences: Geophysics


In the northern North Atlantic off Europe, deep convection flushes buoyancy and heat out of the upper ocean each winter. It is replaced by horizontal advection during the remainder of the year. Absolute geostrophic currents can be computed from an application of the heat conservation equation. A remarkable spiral with depth emerges as a key feature in the process. The computed field of flow appears to be consistent with several buoyancy and heat flux requirements, with the independent physical information of locally vanishing curl of the wind-stress, and with its implications through the Sverdrup relation.

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