Stratification and water mass formation in the Arctic Ocean: some implications for the nutrient distribution
AbstractThe mixing processes and the water formations (transformations) in the Arctic Ocean are reviewed and their influence on the stratification discussed. The relations between the stratification and the nutrient distribution are examined. The interactions between drifting sea ice and advected warmer and nutrient-rich waters favour an early biological activity. By contrast, in the central Arctic Ocean and over comparably deep shelf areas such as the northern Barents Sea, the possibilities for large productivity are more limited because of late melting, less nutrient supply, and in the central Arctic, less available light. The sedimentation of organic matter on the shelves and the remineralisation into cold, dense waters formed by brine rejection and draining off the shelves lead to a loss of nutrients to the deep waters, which must be compensated for by advection of nutrient rich waters to the Arctic Ocean. Possible effects of a reduction of the river run-off on the stratification and the nutrient distribution are discussed.
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