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Interconnectivity between volume transports through Arctic straits

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Arctic heat and freshwater budgets are highly sensitive to volume transports through the Arctic-Subarctic straits. Here we study the interconnectivity of volume transports through Arctic Straits in three models; two coupled global atmosphere-ocean models, one with a third-degree horizontal ocean resolution (HiGEM1.1) and one with a twelfth-degree horizontal ocean resolution (HadGEM3), and one ocean-only model with an idealised polar basin (tenth-degree horizontal resolution). The two global climate models indicate that there is a strong anti-correlation between the Bering Strait throughflow and the transport through the Nordic Seas, a second strong anti-correlation between the Nordic Seas transport and that through the Canadian Artic Archipelago (CAA), and a third strong anti-correlation is found between the Fram Strait and the Barents Sea throughflows. Analysis of the sea level pressure and sea surface height fields suggest that are least some part of the strait correlations is due to the strait transports being coincidentally driven by large scale atmospheric forcing patterns. However, there is also be a role for fast wave adjustments of some straits flows to perturbations in other straits since it is impossible that the atmospheric forcing of individual strait flows will lead to near-mass balance fortuitously every year. Simple experiments in an idealised ocean model (NEMO) suggest that perturbations in the Bering Strait are compensated preferentially in the Nordic Seas due to the wide shelf of the Canadian Archipelago and the depth of the Fram Strait.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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