Northward Transport of Pacific Summer Water along the Northwind Ridge in the western Arctic Ocean

Hiroshi.Sumata [ at ]


The recent sea-ice reduction in the Arctic Ocean is not spatially uniform, but is disproportionally large around the Northwind Ridge and Chukchi Plateau compared to elsewhere in the Canada Basin. In the Northwind Ridge region, Pacific Summer Water (PSW) delivered from the Bering Sea occupies the subsurface layer. The spa- tial distribution of warm PSW shows a quite similar pattern to the recent ice retreat, suggesting the influence of PSW on the sea-ice reduction. To understand the regionality of the recent ice retreat, we examine the dynamics and timing of the delivery of the PSW into this region. Here, we adopt a two-layer linearized potential vorticity equa- tion to investigate the behavior of Rossby waves in the presence of a topographic discontinuity in the high latitude ocean. The analytical results show a quite different structure from those of mid-latitude basins due to the small value of β β β β β . Incident barotropic waves excited by the sea-ice motion with large annual variation can be scattered into both barotropic and baroclinic modes at the discontinuity. Since the scattered baroclinic Rossby wave with annual frequency cannot propagate freely, a strong baroclinic current near the topographic discontinuity is established. The sea- sonal variation of current near the topographic discontinuity would cause a kind of selective switching system for shelf water transport into the basin. In our simple ana- lytical model, the enhanced northward transport of summer water and reduced north- ward transport of winter water are well demonstrated. The present study indicates that these basic dynamics imply that a strengthening of the surface forcing during winter in the Canada Basin could cause sea-ice reduction in the Western Arctic through the changes of underlying Pacific Summer Water.

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DOI 10.1007/s10872-007-0035-4

Cite as
Sumata, H. and Shimada, K. (2007): Northward Transport of Pacific Summer Water along the Northwind Ridge in the western Arctic Ocean , Journal of Oceanography, 63 , pp. 363-378 . doi: 10.1007/s10872-007-0035-4

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