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


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Markus.Janout [ at ] awi.de

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 s21 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 s21 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 (–0.58C) Atlantic-derived waters in central VT from cold (<–1.58C) 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.



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ISI/Scopus peer-reviewed
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Published
Eprint ID
45372
DOI 10.1002/2017JC013159

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Janout, M. A. , Hölemann, J. , Timokhov, L. , Gutjahr, O. and Heinemann, G. (2017): Circulation in the northwest Laptev Sea in the eastern Arctic Ocean: Crossroads between Siberian River water, Atlantic water and polynya-formed dense water , Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 122 , pp. 1-18 . doi: 10.1002/2017JC013159


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