Dynamics of the Arctic Pacific Water: A multi-model inter-comparison study

Lead Author Yevgeny, Aksenov
Institution Contact National Oceanography Centre University of Southampton Waterfront Campus European Way Southampton SO14 3ZH United Kingdom
Co-Authors Michael Karcher, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany Andrey Proshutinsky, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA Rudieger Gerdes, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany Sheldon Bacon, National Oceanography Centre, UK A.J. George Nurser, National Oceanography Centre, UK Andrew Coward, National Oceanography Centre, UK Elena Golubeva, Institute of Computational Mathematics and Geophysics, Russia Frank Kauker, Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany An T. Nguyen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA Gennady A. Platov, Institute of Computational Mathematics and Geophysics, Russia Martin Wadley, University of East Anglia, UK Eiji Watanabe, Japan Agency for Marine Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), Japan
Theme Theme 1: Vulnerability of Arctic Environments
Session Name 1.2 Fresh Water in the Arctic Climate System: Consequences of Global Climate Change and Future Projections of the Arctic Environment
Datetime Thu, Sep 15, 2016 02:00 PM - 02:15 PM
Presentation Type Oral
Abstract text Pacific Water (PW) enters the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait, brings heat, fresh water and nutrients from the northern Bering Sea and has impacts on ocean mixing, sea ice and ocean dynamics, as well as heat and salt budgets and ocean biology. Pathways and the circulation of PW in the central Arctic Ocean are only partially understood due to the lack of observations. We simulate PW pathways by tracking it with a passive tracer in a suite of coupled sea ice-ocean models. The tracer is released in Bering Strait during 1979-2010 and spreads from the Bering Strait region into the Arctic Ocean through the Barrow and Herald canyons and across the Herald Shoal and the central Chukchi shelf, with a large fraction of PW accumulating at the periphery of the Beaufort Gyre. We analyse changes in the PW and associated oceanic freshwater sources through the Arctic Ocean due to changes in the wind, focusing on seasonal and inter-decadal variations in the PW pathways. We put forward a hypothesis which relates variations in the PW pathways to the changes in the wind through Ekman pumping and via the changes in vertical shear of oceanic relative vorticity. We discuss the implications of the Pacific water variability for the recent changes in the Arctic heat and fresh water storage. The presented study was a part of the Forum for Arctic Ocean Modelling and Observational Synthesis (FAMOS), an international effort to coordinate Arctic Ocean modelling and observations.
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