Greater role for Atlantic inflows on sea-ice loss in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean

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Polyakov, Igor V.
Pnyushkov, Andrey
Alkire, Matthew
Ashik, Igor M.
Baumann, Till M.
Carmack, Eddy C.
Goszczko, Ilona
Guthrie, John D.
Ivanov, Vladimir V.
Kanzow, Torsten
Krishfield, Richard A.
Kwok, Ron
Sundfjord, Arild
Morison, James H.
Rember, Robert
Yulin, Alexander
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Arctic sea-ice loss is a leading indicator of climate change and can be attributed, in large part, to atmospheric forcing. Here we show that recent ice reductions, weakening of the halocline, and shoaling of intermediate-depth Atlantic Water layer in the eastern Eurasian Basin have increased winter ventilation in the ocean interior, making this region structurally similar to that of the western Eurasian Basin. The associated enhanced release of oceanic heat has reduced winter sea-ice formation at a rate now comparable to losses from atmospheric thermodynamic forcing, thus explaining the recent reduction in sea-ice cover in the eastern Eurasian Basin. This encroaching “atlantification” of the Eurasian Basin represents an essential step toward a new Arctic climate state, with a substantially greater role for Atlantic inflows.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2017. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here under a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license granted to WHOI. It is made available for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 356 (2017): 285-291, doi:10.1126/science.aai8204.
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