Seasonal variation of upwelling in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea : impact of sea ice cover

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Schulze, Lena M.
Pickart, Robert S.
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Arctic ocean
Landfast ice
Seasonal ice cover
Shelf-basin exchange
Wind-driven upwelling
Data from a mooring array deployed from August 2002 to September 2004 are used to characterize differences in upwelling near the shelf break in the Alaskan Beaufort Sea due to varying sea ice conditions. The record is divided into three ice seasons: open water, partial ice, and full ice. The basic response is the same in each of the seasons. Roughly 8 h after the onset of easterly winds the shelf break jet reverses, followed approximately 10 h later by upwelling of saltier water which is cold near the shelf break (Pacific Winter Water) and warm at depth (Atlantic Water). The secondary circulation at the outer shelf is, to first order, consistent with a two-dimensional Ekman balance of offshore flow in the upper layer and onshore flow at depth. There are, however, important seasonal differences in the upwelling. Overall the response is strongest in the partial ice season and weakest in the full ice season. It is believed that these differences are dictated by the degree to which wind stress is transmitted through the pack-ice, as the strength of the wind-forcing was comparable over the three seasons. An EOF-based upwelling index is constructed using information about the primary flow, secondary flow, and hydrography. The ability to predict upwelling using the wind record alone is explored, which demonstrates that 90% of easterly wind events exceeding 9.5 m s−1 drive significant upwelling. During certain periods the ice cover on the shelf became landfast, which altered the upwelling and circulation patterns near the shelf break.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2012. 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 117 (2012): C06022, doi:10.1029/2012JC007985.
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Journal of Geophysical Research 117 (2012): C06022
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