Circulation in the northwest Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic Ocean: Crossroads between Siberian River water, Atlantic water and polynya-formed dense water.

Janout, Markus A., Hölemann, Jens, Timokhov, Leonid, Gutjahr, Oliver and Heinemann, Günther (2017) Circulation in the northwest Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic Ocean: Crossroads between Siberian River water, Atlantic water and polynya-formed dense water. Open Access Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122 (8). pp. 6630-6647. DOI 10.1002/2017JC013159.

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Abstract

This paper investigates new observations from the poorly understood region between the Kara and Laptev Seas in the Eastern Arctic Ocean. We discuss relevant circulation features including riverine freshwater, Atlantic-derived water, and polynya-formed dense water, emphasize Vilkitsky Strait (VS) as an important Kara Sea gateway, and analyze the role of the adjacent ∼250 km-long submarine Vilkitsky Trough (VT) for the Arctic boundary current. Expeditions in 2013 and 2014 operated closely spaced hydrographic transects and 1 year-long oceanographic mooring near VT's southern slope, and found persistent annually averaged flow of 0.2 m s−1 toward the Nansen Basin. The flow is nearly barotropic from winter through early summer and becomes surface intensified with maximum velocities of 0.35 m s−1 from August to October. Thermal wind shear is maximal above the southern flank at ∼30 m depth, in agreement with basinward flow above VT's southern slope. The subsurface features a steep front separating warm (–0.5°C) Atlantic-derived waters in central VT from cold (<–1.5°C) shelf waters, which episodically migrates across the trough indicated by current reversals and temperature fluctuations. Shelf-transformed waters dominate above VT's slope, measuring near-freezing temperatures throughout the water column at salinities of 34–35. These dense waters are vigorously advected toward the Eurasian Basin and characterize VT as a conduit for near-freezing waters that could potentially supply the Arctic Ocean's lower halocline, cool Atlantic water, and ventilate the deeper Arctic Ocean. Our observations from the northwest Laptev Sea highlight a topographically complex region with swift currents, several water masses, narrow fronts, polynyas, and topographically channeled storms.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Circulation, Northwest Laptev Sea, Eastern Arctic Ocean, Crossroads, Siberian River Water, Atlantic Water, Polynya-formed dense water
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1002/2017JC013159
ISSN: 2169-9275
Projects: CATS, Laptev Sea System
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2018 11:14
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2019 15:12
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/41359

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