On the basis of the contemporary array of oceanographic and hydrometeorological data, we compute the characteristics of variations of the Gulf-Stream transport in 1950–2004. The role played by the low-frequency oscillations of vorticity of the wind field and turbulent heat fluxes in the North Atlantic in the formation of the analyzed variations is estimated. We reveal a significant (on a 5% confidence level) positive linear trend of the monthly average Gulf-Stream transport manifested in the increase in the Gulf-Stream transport by 13 Sv for the investigated period. On the basis of the established estimates, we make a conclusion that about a quarter of the interannual variations of the Gulf-Stream transport is caused by the low-frequency oscillations of vorticity of the wind field in the Subtropical Atlantic. Moreover, the Gulf-Stream transport is delayed relative to the wind oscillations by about 2 yr. An important role in the changes in the Gulf-Stream transport is played by the response of the system of west boundary currents to the quasiperiodic action of turbulent heat fluxes on the surface of the ocean connected with the North-Atlantic Oscillation. The intensification of turbulent heat fluxes in the Northern Subpolar Cyclonic Gyre and their weakening in the north part of the Subtropical Anticyclonic Gyre are accompanied by the intensification of the Gulf Stream observed after 3–5 yr. The anomalies of turbulent heat fluxes of the opposite sign are followed by weakening of the Gulf Stream also after a period of 3–5 yr. We also mention a potentially important role played the Pacific decadal oscillation in maintaining the decadal variations of the intensity of Gulf Stream. The influence of this oscillation on the Gulf-Stream transport is realized both via the changes in the wind field in different phases of oscillations and due to its influence on the heat exchange of the ocean with the atmosphere.
Physical Oceanography – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 3, 2009
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