Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 57, Issue 2, pp 207-234

First online:

Heat and Freshwater Budgets and Pathways in the Arctic Mediterranean in a Coupled Ocean/Sea-ice Model

  • Xiangdong ZhangAffiliated withFrontier Research System for Global Change, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska FairbanksChinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences
  • , Jing ZhangAffiliated withGeophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

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The Arctic Mediterranean is important for climate studies because of its unique thermodynamic characteristics and its potential role in freshwater export, which would influences air-sea and ice-sea interactions and may change the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. It is difficult to obtain consistent and complete estimates of heat and freshwater budgets due to sparse observation. In this paper, we use a coupled Arctic ocean/sea-ice model with NCEP/NCAR (National Centers for Environmental Prediction/National Center for Atmospheric Research) reanalysis data, long-term gauged river runoff data, precipitation data and estimates of volume transports to examine heat and freshwater budgets and pathways in dynamically and thermodynamically consistence. The model implements “Neptune effect”, flux-corrected-transport algorithm and more sophisticated treatments of heat and freshwater fluxes. Uncertainties and deficiencies in the modeling were also evaluated. Results indicate that the Arctic Ocean is provided heat mainly from the Fram Strait branch of Atlantic water at about 46 TW, which is within the range in literature. The Barents Sea branch carries about 43 TW of net heat entering the Barents Sea, but only 2 TW of net heat enters the Arctic Ocean. The Atlantic water is significantly modified in the Barents Sea. About 39 TW of heat is lost, which is consistent with the range of estimates by Simonsen and Haugan (1996). The model suggests 79,422 km3 of freshwater storage mainly distributing the Canada Basin, the Beaufort Sea and the Eurasian coast, which is in a good agreement with estimate by Aagaard and Carmack (1989). Freshwater origins from river runoff, precipitation and the Bering Strait throughflow. Liquid freshwater mainly exports via the Canadian Archipelago and Fram Strait at the rates of 3100 km3/yr and 1400 km3/yr. Sea-ice is dominantly transported through Fram Strait with 1923 km3/yr. Model discrepancies exist and climate drift is clear, which require comprehensive physical treatments of mixing processes and dense water processes in the model.

Heat and freshwater budget and pathways Arctic ocean sea ice coupled model