Ocean Sci. Discuss., 10, 1807-1831, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed
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Eddy length scales and the Rossby radius in the Arctic Ocean
A. J. G. Nurser and S. Bacon
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK

Abstract. The first (and second) baroclinic deformation (or Rossby) radii are presented and discussed north of ~60° N, focusing on deep basins and shelf seas in the high Arctic Ocean, the Nordic Seas, Baffin Bay, Hudson Bay and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, derived from high-resolution ice-ocean general circulation model output. Comparison of the model output with measured results shows that low values of the Rossby radius (in shallow water) and high values (in the Canada Basin) are accurately reproduced, while intermediate values (in the region of the Makarov and Amundsen Basins) are overestimated. In the high Arctic Ocean, the first Rossby radius increases from ~5 km in the Nansen Basin to ~15 km in the central Canadian Basin. In the shelf seas and elsewhere, values are low (1–7 km), reflecting weak density stratification, shallow water, or both. Seasonality only strongly impacts the Rossby radii in shallow seas where winter homogenisation of the water column can reduce it to the order of 100 m. We also offer an interpretation and explanation of the observed scales of Arctic Ocean eddies.

Citation: Nurser, A. J. G. and Bacon, S.: Eddy length scales and the Rossby radius in the Arctic Ocean, Ocean Sci. Discuss., 10, 1807-1831, doi:10.5194/osd-10-1807-2013, 2013.
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