Circulation of Pacific Winter Water in the western Arctic Ocean

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Zhong, Wenli
Steele, Michael
Zhang, Jinlun
Cole, Sylvia T.
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Beaufort Gyre
Pacific Winter Water
PWW pathway
lower halocline eddies
western Arctic Ocean
Pacific Winter Water (PWW) enters the western Arctic Ocean from the Chukchi Sea; however, the physical mechanisms that regulate its circulation within the deep basin are still not clear. Here, we investigate the interannual variability of PWW with a comprehensive data set over a decade. We quantify the thickening and expansion of the PWW layer during 2002–2016, as well as its changing pathway. The total volume of PWW in the Beaufort Gyre (BG) region is estimated to have increased from 3.48 ± 0.04 × 1014 m3 during 2002–2006 to 4.11 ± 0.02 × 1014 m3 during 2011–2016, an increase of 18%. We find that the deepening rate of the lower bound of PWW is almost double that of its upper bound in the northern Canada Basin, a result of lateral flux convergence of PWW (via lateral advection of PWW from the Chukchi Borderland) in addition to the Ekman pumping. In particular, of the 70‐m deepening of PWW at its lower bound observed over 2003–2011 in the northwestern basin, 43% resulted from lateral flux convergence. We also find a redistribution of PWW in recent years toward the Chukchi Borderland associated with the wind‐driven spin‐up and westward shift of the BG. Finally, we hypothesize that a recently observed increase of lower halocline eddies in the BG might be explained by this redistribution, through a compression mechanism over the Chukchi Borderland.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans 124(2), (2019):863-881, doi:10.1029/2018JC014604.
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Zhong, W., Steele, M., Zhang, J., & Cole, S. T. (2019). Circulation of Pacific Winter Water in the western Arctic Ocean. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 124(2), 863-881.
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