Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 66, Issue 2, pp 201–210 | Cite as

Chemical signature of intermediate water masses along western Portuguese margin

  • Graça Cabeçadas
  • M. José Brogueira
  • M. Gelena Cavaco
  • Célia Gonçalves
Original Articles


Although the circulation of intermediate water masses in the eastern North Atlantic remains poorly defined, the presence of fresher intermediate waters, the Sub-Artic (SAIW) and the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW), as well the saline intermediate Mediterranean Water (MW), has been tracked using biogeochemical properties. Here we assess the hydrographic and chemical structures of intermediate waters along the western Portuguese margin by examining the vertical distributions and property-property plots of chemical tracers (oxygen and nutrients). AAIW was traced by low oxygen and high nutrients, while SAIW was recognized by low nutrients. The Mediterranean Water (MW) undercurrent is shown to spread towards the eastern flank of Gorringe bank. Concurrently, the fresher waters gained salt by direct incorporation of MW, while this water was enriched in nutrients on its way northward and westward owing, to a great extent, to the entrainment of an AAIW branch. The distributions of nutrients and apparent oxygen utilization are discussed in terms of regional ocean circulation. Our analysis suggests a circulation pattern of the various intermediate waters along the western Portuguese margin: MW extends all over the area, but its presence is more pronounced around cape St. Vincent; SAIW apparently moves southward, reaching the Gorringe bank region, and AAIW flows northward along the coast and around the bank.


Intermediate water masses biogeochemical properties eastern North Atlantic Portuguese margin 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graça Cabeçadas
    • 1
  • M. José Brogueira
    • 1
  • M. Gelena Cavaco
    • 1
  • Célia Gonçalves
    • 1
  1. 1.INRB/IPIMAR — Instituto Nacional dos Recursos BiológicosLisboaPortugal

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