Analysis of the Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Content in 2003–2018

A. Proshutinsky, R. Krishfield, J. M. Toole, M. L. Timmermans, W. Williams, S. Zimmermann, M. Yamamoto-Kawai, T. W.K. Armitage, D. Dukhovskoy, E. Golubeva, G. E. Manucharyan, G. Platov, E. Watanabe, T. Kikuchi, S. Nishino, M. Itoh, S. H. Kang, K. H. Cho, K. Tateyama, J. Zhao

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Abstract

Hydrographic data collected from research cruises, bottom-anchored moorings, drifting Ice-Tethered Profilers, and satellite altimetry in the Beaufort Gyre region of the Arctic Ocean document an increase of more than 6,400 km3 of liquid freshwater content from 2003 to 2018: a 40% growth relative to the climatology of the 1970s. This fresh water accumulation is shown to result from persistent anticyclonic atmospheric wind forcing (1997–2018) accompanied by sea ice melt, a wind-forced redirection of Mackenzie River discharge from predominantly eastward to westward flow, and a contribution of low salinity waters of Pacific Ocean origin via Bering Strait. Despite significant uncertainties in the different observations, this study has demonstrated the synergistic value of having multiple diverse datasets to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of Beaufort Gyre freshwater content variability. For example, Beaufort Gyre Observational System (BGOS) surveys clearly show the interannual increase in freshwater content, but without satellite or Ice-Tethered Profiler measurements, it is not possible to resolve the seasonal cycle of freshwater content, which in fact is larger than the year-to-year variability, or the more subtle interannual variations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9658-9689
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Volume124
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

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Keywords

  • Arctic Ocean
  • Beaufort Gyre
  • circulation
  • climate change
  • freshwater balance
  • modeling

Cite this

Proshutinsky, A., Krishfield, R., Toole, J. M., Timmermans, M. L., Williams, W., Zimmermann, S., ... Zhao, J. (2019). Analysis of the Beaufort Gyre Freshwater Content in 2003–2018. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124(12), 9658-9689. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015281