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ArticleArctic Ocean basin liquid freshwater storage trend 1992–2012(John Wiley & Sons, 2014-02-12) Rabe, Benjamin ; Karcher, Michael ; Kauker, Frank ; Schauer, Ursula ; Toole, John M. ; Krishfield, Richard A. ; Pisarev, Sergey ; Kikuchi, Takashi ; Su, J.Freshwater in the Arctic Ocean plays an important role in the regional ocean circulation, sea ice, and global climate. From salinity observed by a variety of platforms, we are able, for the first time, to estimate a statistically reliable liquid freshwater trend from monthly gridded fields over all upper Arctic Ocean basins. From 1992 to 2012 this trend was 600±300 km3 yr−1. A numerical model agrees very well with the observed freshwater changes. A decrease in salinity made up about two thirds of the freshwater trend and a thickening of the upper layer up to one third. The Arctic Ocean Oscillation index, a measure for the regional wind stress curl, correlated well with our freshwater time series. No clear relation to Arctic Oscillation or Arctic Dipole indices could be found. Following other observational studies, an increased Bering Strait freshwater import to the Arctic Ocean, a decreased Davis Strait export, and enhanced net sea ice melt could have played an important role in the freshwater trend we observed.
PreprintAn assessment of Arctic Ocean freshwater content changes from the 1990s to the 2006-2008 period( 2010-12-10) Rabe, Benjamin ; Karcher, Michael ; Schauer, Ursula ; Toole, John M. ; Krishfield, Richard A. ; Pisarev, Sergey ; Kauker, Frank ; Gerdes, Rudiger ; Kikuchi, TakashiUnprecedented summer-season sampling of the Arctic Ocean during the period 2006−2008 makes possible a quasi-synoptic estimate of liquid freshwater (LFW) inventories in the Arctic Ocean basins. In comparison to observations from 1992−1999, LFW content relative to a salinity of 35 in the layer from the surface to the 34 isohaline increased by 8400 ± 2000 km3 in the Arctic Ocean (water depth greater than 500m). This is close to the annual export of freshwater (liquid and solid) from the Arctic Ocean reported in the literature. Observations and a model simulation show regional variations in LFW were both due to changes in the depth of the lower halocline, often forced by regional wind-induced Ekman pumping, and a mean freshening of the water column above this depth, associated with an increased net sea ice melt and advection of increased amounts of river water from the Siberian shelves. Over the whole Arctic Ocean, changes in the observed mean salinity above the 34 isohaline dominated estimated changes in LFW content; the contribution to LFW change by bounding isohaline depth changes was less than a quarter of the salinity contribution, and non-linear effects due to both factors were negligible.