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Characterization and predictability of the Iceland-Faroe Front. Borrione, Ines; Storto, Andrea; Falchetti, Silvia; Oddo, Paolo; Pennucci, Giuliana; Russo, Aniello. CMRE-MR-2019-004. April 2020.
The region denoted as the Greenland-Iceland-United Kingdom (GIUK) gap, is of strategic importance to NATO because it acts as an access point to the Nordic Seas from the Atlantic Ocean. Between Iceland and the Faroe Islands, the Iceland Faroe Front (IFF) flows east separating, down to 350 m, the warm and saline waters of Atlantic origin from the cold and fresh Nordic Waters located to its north. The prominent temperature and salinity gradients existing across the front have strong repercussions on sound propagation in the region. As the front changes position and shape on a weekly to monthly basis, the ability to adequately predict and describe its location and main characteristics is advantageous before operations take place. However, at these high latitudes, the limited number of satellite observations and severe sampling limitations poses several challenges. Using a combination of multi-platform observations obtained during the Nordic Recognized Environmental Picture 2018 (NREP18) sea trial and tailored model simulations that provide high resolution data in the area, this report gives an overview of the IFF’s main three-dimensional physical characteristics at the surface and along selected transects as well as its temporal evolution. The results were compared to the outcomes of the ocean-sea-ice-modelling framework implemented for NREP18 and improved with respect to its near real-time configuration. The comparison shows that the nested high-resolution model is able to estimate the position of the front as well as reproduce its main characteristics and gradients. The results suggest that by assimilating data in the nested-child configuration will most likely further improve estimations, thus posing a very good base for possible future applications in the region of the IFF and of the Nordic Seas.