Labrador Sea in the NW Atlantic

Map of annual-mean temperature at 100m
Map of annual-mean temperature at 100m below the surface in the NW Atlantic with a schematic representation of circulation

The Labrador Sea is an important region in the global climate system because it is one of only a few areas in the world's ocean where severe atmospheric cooling in winter results in "deep convection". This results in the formation of a water mass (Labrador Sea Water or LSW) which sinks to intermediate depths and supplies the ocean's Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC), sometimes referred to as the "global ocean conveyor belt". Labrador Sea Water, and deeper water masses flowing through the region from deep convection in the Nordic Seas, form the lower limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) which redistributes heat, freshwater and carbon dioxide latitudinally in the North Atlantic.

Ocean climate variability in the Labrador Sea is also very important because of its influences on the Labrador Current system and hence the oceanography of the entire Atlantic Canadian coastal ocean.

OSD, in collaboration with BIO's Ecosystem Research Division and others, is studying various aspects of the Labrador Sea and its linkages with the rest of the NW Atlantic, including:

These studies build on the observational record provided by the AZOMP, and new ocean models being developed in COMDA, to describe and understand ocean climate variability in the region, and to develop a predictive capability.

Some aspects of these Ocean Climate studies in the NW Atlantic are being supported by DFO's Climate Change Science Initiative and International Governance Strategy Science program.

Some of these Ocean Climate studies are a contribution to the World Climate Research Program (WCRP).

For a list of recent publications and reports, Click Here [NOTE: The link page is under construction and is not currently avaliable]