Atmospheric controlled freshwater release at the Laptev Sea continental margin
AbstractConsiderable interannual differences were observed in river water and sea-ice meltwater inventory values derived from d18O and salinity data in the Eurasian Basin along the continental margin of the Laptev Sea in the summers of 1993 and 1995, and in the summers of 2005 and 2006 during Nansen and Amundsen Basins Observational system (NABOS) expeditions. The annually different pattern in river and sea-ice meltwater inventories remain closely linked for all of the years studied, which indicates that source regions and transport mechanisms for both river water and sea-ice formation are largely similar over the relatively shallow Laptev Sea Shelf. A simple Ekman trajectory model for surface Lagrangian particles based solely on wind forcing can explain the main features observed between years with significantly different wind patterns and vorticities, and can also explain differences in river water distributions observed for years with a generally similar offshore wind setting. An index based on this simplified trajectory model is rather similar to the vorticity index, but reflects the hydrology on the shelf better for distinctive years. This index is not correlated with the Arctic Oscillation, but rather with a local mode of oscillation, which controls the outflow and distribution of the Eurasian Basin major freshwater source on an annual timescale.
Keywords: Arctic Ocean halocline; atmospheric forcing; Laptev Sea; stable isotopes; water masses.
(Published: 1 January 2011)
Citation: Polar Research 2011, 30: 5858 - DOI: 10.3402/polar.v30i0.5858
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