Sea ice volume variability and water temperature in the Greenland Sea

Selyuzhenok, Valeria; Bashmachnikov, Igor; Ricker, Robert; Vesman, Anna; Bobylev, Leonid

This study explores a link between the long-term variations in the integral sea ice volume (SIV) in the Greenland Sea and oceanic processes. Using the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS, 1979–2016), we show that the increasing sea ice volume flux through Fram Strait goes in parallel with a decrease in SIV in the Greenland Sea. The overall SIV loss in the Greenland Sea is 113 kminline-formula3 per decade, while the total SIV import through Fram Strait increases by 115 kminline-formula3 per decade. An analysis of the ocean temperature and the mixed-layer depth (MLD) over the climatic mean area of the winter marginal sea ice zone (MIZ) revealed a doubling of the amount of the upper-ocean heat content available for the sea ice melt from 1993 to 2016. This increase alone can explain the SIV loss in the Greenland Sea over the 24-year study period, even when accounting for the increasing SIV flux from the Arctic. The increase in the oceanic heat content is found to be linked to an increase in temperature of the Atlantic Water along the main currents of the Nordic Seas, following an increase in the oceanic heat flux from the subtropical North Atlantic. We argue that the predominantly positive winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index during the 4 most recent decades, together with an intensification of the deep convection in the Greenland Sea, is responsible for the intensification of the cyclonic circulation pattern in the Nordic Seas, which results in the observed long-term variations in the SIV.

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Selyuzhenok, Valeria / Bashmachnikov, Igor / Ricker, Robert / et al: Sea ice volume variability and water temperature in the Greenland Sea. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Valeria Selyuzhenok et al.

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