The R/V Knorr in "warm" weather conditions. (Christopher Griner©WHOI)
After a lackadaisical start, the winter of 1997 turned into a blockbuster season for forcing deep convection in the Labrador Sea. During the period February 8 to March 13, 1997, several hardy souls on board the R/V Knorr documented some of the largest surface ocean cooling ever observed directly. For virtually the entire cruise period, cold, dry, continental air masses streamed over the Labrador Sea from the north and west. The strong contrast between these air masses and the relatively warm, moist surface of the ice-free Labrador Sea, along with strong winds, resulted in extreme loss of heat from the ocean. The surface cooling destabilized the ocean mixed layer, which grew from approximately 400 to 1500 meters in some locations during just one month. The atmosphere also experienced deep convection, in one case extending from the surface to almost 5 km elevation. Near-continuous snow showers had an important affect on ocean buoyancy, counteracting the cooling and evaporation by approximately 20%.
The analyses of these atmospheric forcing features is ongoing. Several researchers have formed an e-mail working group to organize atmospheric studies of the Labrador Seas. Click here for more details on the working group.
This site shows some of the preliminary in situ Knorr results of the Labrador Sea Deep Convection Experiment meteorology research program . Here you can find links to some plots of surface meteorology variables and descriptions of available data sets.
During the 1997 Knorr cruise, meteorological measurements were performed by:
We also operated equipment supplied by the Environmental Technical Laboratory/NOAA, Boulder Colorado, The University of Washington, Department of Atmospheric Science, Seattle, Washington, and The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachussets as part of our collaboration with the FASTEX project.
Following are links to some plots of meteorological parameters and other quantities measured during the cruise. These may be freely copied, but please acknowledge the original author(s) if the plots are used in any publication or presentation. Make sure other people who receive anything here are also aware of this request.
Last update: 5/3/99
Please send all comments and suggestions to the author, Peter Guest