Deep water renewal in a Scottish fjord: temperature, salinity and oxygen isotopes

William E N Austin, Mark Inall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


The sea lochs (fjords) of north-west Scotland are located in a region of Europe particularly well situated to monitor changes in westerly air streams. The moisture transported in these air streams has a profound effect on regional precipitation, freshwater run-off and, in turn, sea loch circulation. The gentle slope of the regional salinity:delta(18)O mixing-line, defined as 0.18parts per thousand per salinity unit, suggests that the temperature: delta(18)O relationship may be readily resolved in these coastal waters. Deep-water renewal events, both observed and predicted from empirical models, in the bottom-waters of Loch Etive provide an opportunity to assess the temperature, salinity and delta(18)O relationship. Predicted changes in delta(18)O(calcite) as a function of changing salinity (DeltaS) and changing temperature (DeltaT) during deep-water renewal events suggest that >80% fall above analytical detection limits. The theoretical likelihood of recording such renewal events in the "palaeoclimate" record appears to be promising, but temperature and salinity change during renewal events may have either sign. Scottish fjords, because of the relatively small impact which salinity has on delta(18)O(water), may provide useful study sites in palaeoclimate research, particularly where palaeotemperature is the primary record of interest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-258
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Ecology
  • Environmental Sciences
  • Geosciences, Multidisciplinary
  • Geography, Physical
  • Oceanography


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