Quantifying the Bering Strait Oceanic Fluxes and their Impacts on Sea-Ice and Water Properties in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas and Western Arctic Ocean for 2013-2014
Technical Report,01 Feb 2013,29 Apr 2016
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE SEATTLE United States
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The oceanic fluxes of volume, heat, and freshwater through the Bering Strait, the only oceanic connection between the Arctic and the Pacific, are critical to the water properties of the Chukchi Sea, act as a trigger of western Arctic sea-ice melt, provide a subsurface source of heat to the Arctic in winter, and are 13rd of freshwater input to the Arctic. Quantification of these fluxes which all vary significantly seasonally and interannually is essential to understanding and predicting recent dramatic changes in the western Arctic, including sea-ice retreat timing and patterns, and sea-ice thickness. Prior data show a 50 increase in the Bering Strait fluxes from 2001 to 2011, and indicate that year-round in situ moorings are currently the only effective way of quantifying Pacific-Arctic oceanic exchange. This project supported three year-round moorings measuring Bering Strait fluxes from 2013 to 2014, preventing a break in the 23-year long Bering Strait time-series. Results show recent fluxes to be significantly higher than 1990s climatologies, with the 2014 volume flux almost double the 2001 flux, driving record freshwater fluxes in 2014, and the 2014 heat flux, enough heat to melt 2x106km2 of 1m thick ice, comparable to the 2007 record high.
- Snow, Ice and Permafrost
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography