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Recent shelf-slope studies in the Arctic Ocean: observations and modeling

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Recent decade was marked by enhanced attention to the Arctic Ocean from scientists and policy makers. The major reason behind this is that among predicted consequences of climate change, the one of the ice-free Arctic Ocean is probably the most dramatic and impacting for society in general and for the Arctic-bounding nations in particular. The other reason is that advancing technology of oceanographic observations provided possibilities for experimental studies, which could not be imagined 20 years ago. From the other hand, increasing cost of fuel and thence, field research carriers (vessels, icebreakers) called for consolidating efforts and funds in big field projects in order to get maximum benefit from the ship-time and to conduct truly multidisciplinary research studies. During the recent 4.5 years of my scientific carrier I was involved in such big project NABOS (=Nansen and Amundsen Basin Observational System), which is the long term multinational program initiated in the International Arctic Research Centre, University of Alaska Fairbanks (IARC UAF ) in 2002. The overall goal of this project is to get continuous time series of water properties in key locations along the Eurasian continental margin. The basic approach is to use autonomous anchored moorings, operating for one year at a time with replacement every year. By the present time, NABOS operates for 6 years, provided new unique data on the Arctic Ocean environment and gained wide international recognition. The scientific results, I will present in this talk, were obtained in framework of this program with my direct contribution. However, I would like to stress that these results were obtained in combined efforts of many scientists and technicians and pay my deep respect to them. I will touch the following topics: (i) substantial warming in the intermediate Atlantic Water (AW) layer in 2000s – its routes and development; (ii) seasonal oscillations in the AW layer deep in the Arctic Ocean and possible applications of this new knowledge for the Arctic Ocean climatology; (iii) dense water cascading from the Arctic shelves – new observations suggesting deep penetration of dense water plumes; (iv) vertical heat and salt exchange between AW and overlying waters – possible effect of AW heat on the ice cover.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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