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OTO 2001/057

Mesoscale dynamics in the Faroes channels

Eight satellite tracked drifters were deployed at the southern end of the Faroe Bank Channel, as part of an oceanographic survey to investigate mesoscale variability in the Faroe-Shetland Channel and over the northern slope of the Wyville Thomson Ridge. The drifter trajectories showed that the area as a whole can be divided into regions characterised by different scales of variability. In the Faroe Bank Channel, the motions tended to be sub-mesoscale with little net flow, although strong geostrophic currents were evident from in-situ CTD data. In the Faroe-Shetland Channel, the surface flow was dominated by the persistent slope current on the Scottish slope and the presence of baroclinically unstable mesoscale meanders in the current, of 50km wavelength and a period of between one and tow weeks. When fully developed, these features transfer warm North Atlantic Water from the Scottish Slope current across the channel on the Faroes Slope, thereby influencing the circulation throughout.

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Updated 2012-01-13