The Arctic Frontal Zone (AFZ) is a frontal zone that runs meridionally between about 5 and 8oE in the Greenland Sea. It separates warm, salty, northward-flowing Norwegian Atlantic Water (NwAtW) in the Norwegian Atlantic Current and the West Spitsbergen Current to the east from the cooler and fresher Arctic Surface Water (ASW) in the Greenland Sea gyre to the west.
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The AFZ consists of two semipermanent frontal interfaces with warm, saline Norwegian Atlantic Water to the east and Arctic Water from the Greenland Sea gyre to the west. These two interfaces bound a band of shallow cyclonic cold eddies and anticyclonic warm eddies with horizontal scales on the order of 40 to 50 kilometers, consistent with the local Rossby radius. Drifter trajectories show a mean surface velocity across the AFZ to the north, and the mean northward geostrophic transport (relative to 1000 dbar) connected with the zonal density gradient in the AFZ is about 3.8 Sverdups. The accompanying transports of heat and fresh water across the AFZ are thought to be of great importance for the control of deep convection processes in the Greenland Sea gyre.
- Physical Oceanography Index
- Hendrik M. van Aken, Gereon Budeus, and Michael Hahnel. The anatomy of the Arctic Frontal Zone in the Greenland Sea. J. Geophys. Res., 100:15999–16014, 1995.