Temporal changes in the water mass distribution and transports along the 20ºW CAIBOX section (NE Atlantic)

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LI Carracedo
PC Pardo
N Villacieros-Robineau
F De la Granda
M Gilcoto
FF Pérez

Abstract

The CAIBOX cruise was conducted from 25 July to 14 August 2009. Three consecutive transects (zonal, meridional, and transverse) formed a closed box to the west of the Strait of Gibraltar. This study aimed to analyze the thermohaline properties, volume transports, and water mass distributions (percentages) along the meridional section (30–41.5º N, 20º W). We identified the main geostrophic current (Azores Current) and its associated volume transport and interannual changes. Data from previous cruises (AZORES I, A16N, CLIVAR, OACES, and CHAOS) with similar tracks were employed to compare with the CAIBOX meridional section. All but one (CHAOS) were summer cruises. We estimated a mean transport for the Azores Current at 20º W of 9.3 ± 2.6 Sv. There appears to be an inverse relation between the position of this current and its associated transport, with relatively high (low) transports when the current is located roughly south (north) of 35º N. Regarding water masses, an increase of 14.4% was found for Mediterranean Water compared with the 1993, 1998, and 2003 cruises; however, Labrador Sea Water decreased its contribution and southward spreading between 1998 and 2009. Key words: Northeast Atlantic, Azores Current, water masses, multiparametric mixing analysis. 

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