Variability of Fram Strait sea ice export: causes, impacts and feedbacks in a coupled climate model
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Analyses of a 500-year control integration of the global coupled atmosphere–sea ice–ocean model ECHAM5.0/MPI-OM show a high variability in the ice export through Fram Strait on interannual to decadal timescales. This variability is mainly determined by variations in the sea level pressure gradient across Fram Strait and thus geostrophic wind stress. Ice thickness anomalies, formed at the Siberian coast and in the Chukchi Sea, propagate across the Arctic to Fram Strait and contribute to the variability of the ice export on a timescale of about 9 years. Large anomalies of the ice export through Fram Strait cause fresh water signals, which reach the Labrador Sea after 1–2 years and lead to significant changes in the deep convection. The associated anomalies in ice cover and ocean heat release have a significant impact on air temperature in the Labrador Sea and on the large-scale atmospheric circulation. This affects the sea ice transport and distribution in the Arctic again. Sensitivity studies, simulating the effect of large ice exports through Fram Strait, show that the isolated effect of a prescribed ice/fresh water anomaly is very important for the climate variability in the Labrador Sea. Thus, the ice export through Fram Strait can be used for predictability of Labrador Sea climate up to 2 years in advance.
KeywordsSalinity Anomaly East Greenland Current Siberian Coast Great Salinity Anomaly Ocean Heat Release
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through the Sonderforschungsbereich 512. The computations have been performed by the Deutsches Klima Rechenzentrum (DKRZ).
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