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ProVoLo

Watermass transformation processes and vortex dynamics in the Lofoten Basin of the Norwegian Sea

Visit the project web page here.

The 4-year project ProVolo is funded by the basic research programme (FRIPRO) of the Research Council of Norway. The study addresses the water transformation processes in the three distinct and important regions of the Lofoten Basin: the steep Norwegian continental slope, the basin pooling the warm Atlantic Water, and the frontal region over the rough Mohn Ridge.

The specific objectives of ProVoLo are to: 

  • conduct dedicated, state-of-the-art observations in the LB,  covering processes from mesoscale (50 km) to turbulence (1 cm)
  • quantify the contribution of the slope current (on the Norwegian slope) and the front current (over the Mohn Ridge) in the dynamics, tracer and energy variability and mixing in the LB
  • describe the generation, propagation and destruction of anticyclones from the slope current and their contribution to the Lofoten Basin Eddy (LBE)
  • resolve, track, describe and quantify the features of the LBE and identify its role in watermass transformation
  • quantify isopycnal and diapycnal mixing rates across the front over the Mohn Ridge

We hypothesize that

  • the slope and the front currents bordering the LB each contribute significantly to the variability of EKE, water properties and their mixing in the basin;
  • eddy-induced transport from the instability of the slope current, and sub-mesoscale dynamics are critical for constraining the lateral heat and salt fluxes; 
  • the LBE is a crucial component of the watermass transformations and mode water formation in the LB;
  • the stability and lifetime of the LBE are affected by substantial isopycnal and diapycnal mixing across the rim of the LBE; 
  • submesoscale processes lead to substantial isopycnal/diapycnal mixing across the front over the Mohn Ridge.

The investigation of these hypotheses is best realized through a combination of Lagrangian and Eulerian measurements, spatial surveys, and high-resolution time series. The main approach is a combination of theory, process modelling and a well-coordinated field experiment with innovative observation techniques using cost-efficient platforms, moored instruments and dedicated cruises covering spatial scales from 1 cm for turbulence to the 50 km scales of mesoscale eddies.