Wind-driven mixing at intermediate depths in an ice-free Arctic Ocean

Lincoln, Ben J.; Rippeth, Tom P.; Lenn, Yueng-Djern; Timmermans, Mary Louise; Williams, William J.; Bacon, Sheldon ORCID: 2016 Wind-driven mixing at intermediate depths in an ice-free Arctic Ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 43 (18). 9749-9756.

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Recent seasonal Arctic Ocean sea ice retreat is a major indicator of polar climate change. The Arctic Ocean is generally quiescent with the interior basins characterized by low levels of turbulent mixing at intermediate depths. In contrast, under conditions of reduced sea ice cover, there is evidence of energetic internal waves that have been attributed to increased momentum transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean. New measurements made in the Canada Basin during the unusually ice-free and stormy summer of 2012 show previously observed enhancement of internal wave energy associated with ice-free conditions. However, there is no enhancement of mixing at intermediate depths away from significant topography. This implies that contrary to expectations of increased wind-induced mixing under declining Arctic sea ice cover, the stratification in the central Canada Basin continues to suppress turbulent mixing at intermediate depths and to effectively isolate the large Atlantic and Pacific heat reservoirs from the sea surface.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 00948276
Additional Keywords: Arctic oceanography; sea ice; wind mixing
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 21 Nov 2016 14:26 +0 (UTC)

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