AbstractsGeography &GIS

Transports and water masses in the Fram Strait and its vicinity from three decades of hydrographic observations in 1980-2010

by Marika Marnela

Institution: University of Helsinki
Year: 2016
Keywords: fysikaalinen meritiede; fysikaalinen meritiede
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2065515
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/166181


The Arctic Ocean and its exchanges with the Nordic Seas influence the north-European climate. The Fram Strait with its 2600 m sill depth is the only deep passage between the Arctic Ocean and the other oceans. Not just all the deep water exchanges between the Arctic Ocean and the rest of the world's oceans take place through the Fram Strait, but also a significant amount of cold, low-saline surface waters and sea ice exit the Arctic Ocean through the strait. Correspondingly, part of the warm and saline Atlantic water flowing northward enters the Arctic Ocean through the Fram Strait bringing heat into the Arctic Ocean. The oceanic exchanges through the Fram Strait as well as the water mass properties and the changes they undergo in the Fram Strait and its vicinity are studied from three decades of ship-based hydrographic observations collected from 1980-2010. The transports are estimated from geostrophic velocities. The main section, comprised of hydrographic stations, is located zonally at about 79 °N. For a few years of the observed period it is possible to combine the 79 °N section with a more northern section, or with a meridional section at the Greenwich meridian, to form quasi-closed boxes and to apply conservation constraints on them in order to estimate the transports through the Fram strait as well as the recirculation in the strait. In a similar way, zonal hydrographic sections in the Fram Strait and along 75 °N crossing the Greenland Sea are combined to study the exchanges between the Nordic Seas and the Fram Strait. The transport estimates are adjusted with drift estimates based on Argo floats in the Greenland Sea. The mean net volume transports through the Fram Strait are averaged from the various approaches and range from less than 1 Sv to about 3 Sv. The heat loss to the atmosphere from the quasi-closed boxes both north and south of the Fram Strait section is estimated at about 10 TW. The net freshwater transport through the Fram Strait is estimated at 60-70 mSv southward. The insufficiently known northward transport of Arctic Intermediate Water (AIW) originating in the Nordic Seas is estimated using 2002 Oden expedition data. At the time of data collection, excess sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) was available, a tracer that besides a background anthropogenic origin derives from a mixing experiment in the Greenland Sea in 1996. The excess SF6 can be used to distinguish AIW from the upper Polar Deep Water originating in the Arctic Ocean. It is estimated that 0.5 Sv of AIW enters the Arctic Ocean. The deep waters in the Nordic Seas and in the Arctic Ocean have become warmer and in the Greenland Sea also more saline during the three decades studied in this work. The temperature and salinity properties of the deep waters found in the Fram Strait from both Arctic Ocean and Greenland Sea origins have become similar and continue to do so. How these changes will affect the circulation patterns will be seen in the future. Pohjoinen jäämeri sekä sen vuorovaikutukset Luoteis-Euroopan merien kanssa vaikuttavat…