Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 55, Issue 3–4, pp 370–387 | Cite as

Numerical simulation of ice-ocean variability in the Barents Sea region

Towards dynamical downscaling
  • W. P. Budgell
Original Paper


A dynamic–thermodynamic sea ice model has been coupled to a three-dimensional ocean general circulation model for the purpose of conducting ocean climate dynamical downscaling experiments for the Barents Sea region. To assess model performance and suitability for such an application, the coupled model has been used to conduct a hindcast for the period 1990–2002. A comparison with available observations shows that the model successfully tracks seasonal and inter-annual variability in the ocean temperature field and that the simulated horizontal and vertical distribution of temperature are in good agreement with observations. The model results follow the seasonal and inter-annual variability in sea ice cover in the region, with the exception that the model results show too much ice melting in the northern Barents Sea during summer. The spatial distribution of the winter simulated sea ice cover is in close agreement with observations. Modelled temperatures and ice concentrations in the central Barents Sea are biased too high and too low, respectively. The probable cause is too high inflow of Atlantic Water into the Barents. The seasonal and inter-annual fluctuations in temperature and sea ice cover in the central Barents are, however, in excellent agreement with observations. Salt release during the freezing process in the numerical simulation exhibits considerable inter-annual variability and tends to vary in an opposite manner to the net inflow volume flux at the western entrance of the Barents Sea. Overall, the model produces realistic ice-ocean seasonal and inter-annual variability and should prove to be a useful tool for dynamical downscaling applications.


Ice-ocean model Comparison model-data Barents Sea 



This work was supported by the Research Council of Norway Regional Climate development under global warming (RegClim) programme. This work has received support through the Programme for Supercomputing of the Research Council of Norway through a grant of computing time. I wish to thank Randi Ingvaldsen for making available her processed hydrographic section data and sharing her insight into circulation processes in the western Barents. I also wish to thank Jens Debernard and Øyvind Sætra for making available their EVP ice dynamics code and to Sirpa Häkkinen for making available her ice thermodynamics code.


  1. Ådlandsvik B, Hansen R (1998) Numerical simulation of the circulation in the Svalbardbanken area in the Barents Sea. Cont Shelf Res 18:341–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ådlandsvik B, Loeng H (1991) A study of the climate system in the Barents Sea. Polar Res 10(1):45–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asplin L, Ingvaldsen R, Loeng H, Ådlandsvik B (1998) Description and validation of a 3-dimensional numerical model of the Nordic and Barents Seas. Fisken og Havet Rep 10. Inst of Mar Res, Bergen, NorwayGoogle Scholar
  4. Bentsen M, Drange H (2000) Parameterizing surface fluxes in ocean models using the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis data. In: RegClim General Technical Report No 4, Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway, pp 44–57Google Scholar
  5. Bentsen M, Evensen G, Jenkins AD, (1999) Coordinate transformation on a sphere using conformal mapping. Mon Wea Rev 127:2733–2740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chapman DC (1985) Numerical treatment of cross-shelf open boundaries in a barotropic coastal ocean model. J Phys Oceanogr 15:1060–1075CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dippner JW, Ottersen G (2001) Cod and climate variability in the Barents Sea. Clim Res 17(1):73–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Ellertsen B, Fossum P, Solemdal P, Sundby S (1989) Relations between temperature and survival of eggs and first feeding larvae of the North-East Arctic cod (Gadus morhua L.). Rapports et Procs-verbaux des Runions du Conseil international pour lExploration de la Mer 191:209–219Google Scholar
  9. Engedahl H (1995) Use of the flow relaxation scheme in a three-dimensional baroclinic ocean model with realistic topography. Tellus 47A:365–382Google Scholar
  10. Flather RA (1976) A tidal model of the northwest European continental shelf. Mem Soc Roy Sci Liege Ser 6(10):141–164Google Scholar
  11. Furevik T, Bentsen M, Drange H, Kindem IKT, Kvamstø NG, Sorteberg A (2003) Description and evaluation of the Bergen Climate Model: ARPEGE coupled with MICOM. Clim Dyn 21:27–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gloersen P, Campbell WJ, Cavalieri DJ, Comiso JC, Parkinson CL, Zwally HJ (1992) Arctic and Antarctic Sea Ice, 1978–1987: satellite passive-microwave observation and analysis. NASA Scientific and Technical Information Program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  13. Haidvogel DB, Beckmann A (1999) Numerical ocean circulation modeling. Imperial College Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Haidvogel DB, Arango HG, Hedström K, Beckmann A, Malanotte-Rizzoli P, Shchepetkin AF (2000) Model evaluation experiments in the North Atlantic Basin: simulations in nonlinear terrain-following coordinates. Dyn Atmos Ocean 32:239–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Häkkinen S, Mellor GL (1992) Modelling the seasonal variability of a coupled arctic ice-ocean system. J Geophys Res 97:20285–20304Google Scholar
  16. Harms IH (1992) A numerical model of the barotropic circulation in the Barents and Kara Seas. Cont Shelf Res 12(9):1043–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Harms IH (1997) Water mass transformation in the Barents Sea—application of the Hamburg shelf ocean model (HamSOM). ICES J Mar Sci 54(3):351–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hunke E (2001) Viscous-plastic sea ice dynamics with the EVP model: linearization issues. J Comput Phys 170:18–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hunke E, Dukowicz J (1997) An elastic-viscous-plastic model for sea ice dynamics. J Phys Oceangr 27:1849–1867CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ingvaldsen R, Asplin L, Loeng H (2004a) Velocity field of the western entrance to the Barents Sea. J Geophys Res 109(C030201). DOI 10.1029/2003JC001811Google Scholar
  21. Ingvaldsen R, Asplin L, Loeng H (2004b) The seasonal cycle in the Atlantic transport to the Barents Sea during the years 1997–2001. Cont Shelf Res 24:1015–1032CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kalnay E, Kanamitsu M, Kistler R, Collins W, Deaven D, Gandin L, Iredell M, Saha S, White G, Woollen J, Zhu Y, Chelliah M, Ebisuzaki W, Higgins W, Janowiak J, Mo KC, Ropelewski C, Wang J, Leetma A, Reynolds R, Jenne R, Joseph D (1996) The NCEP/NCAR 40-year reanalysis project. Bull Am Met Soc 77(3):437–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Large WG, Gent PR (1999) Validation of vertical mixing in an equatorial ocean model using large eddy simulations with observations. J Phys Oceangr 29:449–464CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Large WG, McWilliams JC, Doney SC (1994) Oceanic vertical mixing: a review and a model with a nonlocal boundary layer parameterization. Rev Geophys 32:10937–10954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Loeng H, Ozhigin V, Ådlandsvik B (1997) Water fluxes through the Barents Sea. ICES J Mar Sci 54(3):310–317CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Makshtas AP, Korsnes R (2001) Distribution of solar radiation in the Barents Sea marginal ice zone during summer. J Geophys Res 106(C2):2531–2543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Maslowski W, Marble D, Walczowski W, Schauer U, Clement JL, Semtner AJ (2004) On climatological mass, heat, and salt transports through the Barents Sea and Fram Strait from a pan-Arctic coupled ice-ocean model simulation. J Geophys Res 109(C03032). DOI 10.1029/2001JC001039Google Scholar
  28. Mellor GL, Kantha L (1989) An ice-ocean coupled model. J Geophys Res 94:10937–10954CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mellor GL, Yamada T (1982) Development of a turbulence closure-model for geophysical fluid problems. Rev Geophys 20(4):851–875Google Scholar
  30. Mellor GL, McPhee MG, Steele M (1986) Ice seawater turbulent boundary–layer interaction with melting or freezing. J Phys Oceanogr 16(11):1829–1846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Michalsen K, Ottersen G, Nakken O (1998) Growth of North-east Arctic cod (Gadus morhua L.) in relation to ambient temperature. ICES J Mar Sci 55:863–877CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nakken O, Raknes A (1987) The distribution and growth of Northeast Arctic cod in relation to bottom temperatures in the Barents Sea, 1978–1984. Fish Res 5:243–252CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Oki T, Sud YC (1998) Design of Total Runoff Integrating Pathways (TRIP): a global river channel network. Earth Interactions 2.
  34. Padman L, Erofeeva S (2004) A barotropic inverse tidal model for the Arctic Ocean. Geophys Res Lett. DOI 10.1029/2003GL019003Google Scholar
  35. Renfrew IA, Moore GWK, Guest PS, Bumke K (2002) A comparison of surface layer and surface turbulent flux observations over the Labrador Sea with ECMWF analyses and NCEP reanalyses. J Phys Oceangr 32:383–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sætersdal G, Loeng H (1987) Ecological adaptation of reproduction in Northeast Arctic cod. Fish Res 5:253–270CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sakshaug E, Bjorge A, Gulliksen B, Loeng H, Mehlum F (1994) Structure, biomass distribution, and energetics of the pelagic ecosystem in the Barents Sea—a synopsis. Polar Biol 14(6):405–411CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Schiffer RA, Rossow WB (1985) ISCCP global radiance data set—a new resource for climate research. Bull Am Met Soc 66(12):1498–1505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Serreze MC, Key JR, Box JE, Maslanik JA, Steffen K (1998) A new monthly climatology of global radiation for the Arctic and comparisons with NCEP-NCAR reanalysis and ISCCP-C2 fieldsGoogle Scholar
  40. Shchepetkin AF, McWilliams JC (2003) A method for computing horizontal pressure-gradient force in an oceanic model with a nonaligned vertical coordinate. J Geophys Res 108(C3). DOI 10.1029/2001JC001047Google Scholar
  41. Song Y, Haidvogel D (1994) A semi-implicit ocean circulation model using a generalized topography-following coordinate system. J Comput Phys 115:228–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Steele M, Morley R, Ermold W (2001) A global ocean hydrography with a high quality Arctic Ocean. J Clim 14:2079–2087CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Stolehansen K, Slagstad D (1991) Simulation of currents, ice melting and vertical mixing in the Barents Sea using a 3-d baroclinic model. Polar Res 10(1):33–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Warner JC, Geyer WR (2005) Numerical modelling of an estuary: a comprehensive skill assessment. J Geophys Res 110:C05001. DOI 10.1029/2004JC002691Google Scholar
  45. Warner JC, Sherwood CR, Arango HG, Signell RP (2005) Performance of four turbulence closure methods implemented using a generic length scale method. Ocean Model 8:81–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Marine Research and Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchBergenNorway

Personalised recommendations