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Assimilation impacts on Arctic Ocean circulation, heat and freshwater

Zuo, H., Mugford, R. I., Haines, K. and Smith, G. (2011) Assimilation impacts on Arctic Ocean circulation, heat and freshwater. Ocean Modelling, 40 (2). pp. 147-163. ISSN 1463-5003

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To link to this article DOI: 10.1016/j.ocemod.2011.08.008

Abstract/Summary

We investigate the Arctic basin circulation, freshwater content (FWC) and heat budget by using a high-resolution global coupled ice–ocean model implemented with a state-of-the-art data assimilation scheme. We demonstrate that, despite a very sparse dataset, by assimilating hydrographic data in and near the Arctic basin, the initial warm bias and drift in the control run is successfully corrected, reproducing a much more realistic vertical and horizontal structure to the cyclonic boundary current carrying the Atlantic Water (AW) along the Siberian shelves in the reanalysis run. The Beaufort Gyre structure and FWC and variability are also more accurately reproduced. Small but important changes in the strait exchange flows are found which lead to more balanced budgets in the reanalysis run. Assimilation fluxes dominate the basin budgets over the first 10 years (P1: 1987–1996) of the reanalysis for both heat and FWC, after which the drifting Arctic upper water properties have been restored to realistic values. For the later period (P2: 1997–2004), the Arctic heat budget is almost balanced without assimilation contributions, while the freshwater budget shows reduced assimilation contributions compensating largely for surface salinity damping, which was extremely strong in this run. A downward trend in freshwater export at the Canadian Straits and Fram Strait is found in period P2, associated with Beaufort Gyre recharge. A detailed comparison with observations and previous model studies at the individual Arctic straits is also included.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences > Environmental Systems Science Centre
ID Code:23456
Uncontrolled Keywords:Arctic; Beaufort Gyre; Fram Strait; Assimilation; Freshwater content; Heat budget
Publisher:Elsevier

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