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An Analysis of Atlantic Water in the Arctic Ocean Using the Arctic Subpolar Gyre State Estimate and Observations

Jeffrey Grabon, S.M., 2020
John Toole, Advisor

The Atlantic Water (AW) Layer in the Arctic Subpolar gyre sTate Estimate (ASTE), a regional, medium-resolution coupled ocean-sea ice state estimate, is analyzed for the first time using bounding isopycnals.  A surge of AW, marked by rapid increases in mean AW Layer potential temperature and AW Layer thickness, begins two years into the state estimate (2004) and traverses the Arctic Ocean along boundary current pathways at approximately 2 cm/s.  The surge also alters AW flow direction and speed including a significant reversal in flow direction along the Lomonosov Ridge.   The surge results in a new quasi-steady AW flow from 2010 through the end of the state estimate period in 2017.  The time-mean AW circulation during this time period indicates a significant amount of AW spreads over the Lomonosov Ridge rather than directly returning along the ridge to Fram Strait.  A three-layer depiction of ASTE’s overturning circulation within the AO indicates AW is converted to colder, fresher Surface Layer water at a faster rate than is transformed to Bottom Water (1.2 Sv vs. 0.4 Sv).  Observed AW properties compared to ASTE output indicate increasing misfit during the simulated period with ASTE’s AW Layer generally being warmer and thicker than in observations.