Where can we find a seasonal cycle of the Atlantic water temperature within the Arctic Basin?

Peer Reviewed

Lique C, & Steele M

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans (1978–2012) 117, Issue C3, pages C03026, 2012, 10.1029/2011JC007612.

Recent mooring observations in the Arctic Basin suggest the existence of a seasonality of Atlantic Water (AW) temperature. Here the DRAKKAR global ocean/sea-ice model is used to examine the seasonal cycle amplitude of AW temperature within the Arctic Ocean and to investigate the possible mechanisms governing this seasonality. The simulation as well as available mooring data reveals that the amplitude of the AW temperature seasonal cycle is significant only in the Nansen Basin along the continental slope, where AW is primarily advected. In the model, the seasonal cycle of the AW temperature is advected from Fram Strait up to St. Anna Trough and then re-energized by the Barents Sea Branch. This suggests that the seasonal AW temperature signal survives over a finite distance (∼1000 km). Interannual changes in the seasonal cycle amplitude can be as large as the mean seasonal cycle amplitude; thus seasonality is difficult to characterize from observations spanning only a short period. The seasonal bias of in-situ observations taken during spring and summer does not induce a large error when considering the interannual-to-decadal variations of AW temperature, because the seasonal cycle accounts for a small or negligible part of AW temperature variability, even near the inflow region.

Keywords: Arctic Ocean, Atlantic water, Seasonality
Categories: Arctic, Natural Science