On the origin of water masses in the Beaufort Gyre

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Kelly, Stephen
Proshutinsky, Andrey
Popova, Ekaterina E.
Aksenov, Yevgeny
Yool, Andrew
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Beaufort Gyre
Lagrangian modeling
particle tracking
The Beaufort Gyre is a key feature of the Arctic Ocean, acting as a reservoir for freshwater in the region. Depending on whether the prevailing atmospheric circulation in the Arctic is anticyclonic or cyclonic, either a net accumulation or release of freshwater occurs. The sources of freshwater to the Arctic Ocean are well established and include contributions from the North American and Eurasian Rivers, the Bering Strait Pacific water inflow, sea ice meltwater, and precipitation, but their contribution to the Beaufort Gyre freshwater accumulation varies with changes in the atmospheric circulation. Here we use a Lagrangian backward tracking technique in conjunction with the 1/12‐degree resolution Nucleus for European Modelling of the Ocean model to investigate how sources of freshwater to the Beaufort Gyre have changed in recent decades, focusing on increase in the Pacific water content in the gyre between the late 1980s and early 2000s. Using empirical orthogonal functions we analyze the change in the Arctic oceanic circulation that occurred between the 1980s and 2000s. We highlight a “waiting room” advective pathway that was present in the 1980s and provide evidence that this pathway was caused by a shift in the center of Ekman transport convergence in the Arctic. We discuss the role of these changes as a contributing factor to changes in the stratification, and hence potentially the biology, of the Beaufort Gyre region.
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(7), (2019): 4696-4709, doi: 10.1029/2019JC015022.
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Kelly, S. J., Proshutinsky, A., Popova, E. K., Aksenov, Y. K., & Yool, A. ( 2019). On the origin of water masses in the Beaufort Gyre. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124, 4696– 4709.
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