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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-122
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-122
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Technical note 24 Oct 2018

Technical note | 24 Oct 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Influence of initial stratification, wind and sea ice on the modelled oceanic circulation in Nares Strait, northwest Greenland

Lovisa Waldrop Bergman1 and Céline Heuzé1,2 Lovisa Waldrop Bergman and Céline Heuzé
  • 1Department of Marine Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 461, 405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • 2Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 460, 405 30, Gothenburg, Sweden

Abstract. Nares Strait in northwest Greenland is one of the main gateways for oceanic freshwater and heat exchanges between the Arctic and the North Atlantic. With a changing Arctic climate, understanding the processes that govern the oceanic circulation in Arctic straits has become crucial and urgent, but this cannot be done with current geographically and temporally sparse in-situ observations only. High resolution regional modelling is thus required, but costly. We here report on one-year sensitivity experiments performed with the coupled ice-ocean regional model MITgcm to determine the relative importance of wind forcing, initial stratification and sea ice thickness on the accuracy of the modelled oceanic circulation in Nares Strait. We find that the modelled basin's circulation is mainly driven by density gradients in the upper oceanic layer, making accurate initial fields of temperature and salinity essential for a realistic oceanic circulation. The influence of the wind and sea ice thickness is less important, potentially making such high resolution fields not necessary for accurate strait modelling, provided these results are valid for other sea ice models as well. Comparison with ship-based measurements collected in summer 2015 reveals the experiments to be too cold at the surface, probably because of a not-dynamic-enough sea ice cover. Although the modelled freshwater is rather accurate, large efforts need to be put into observing the ocean and the sources of freshwater continuously throughout the year to produce realistic and efficient model simulations of the Arctic Straits, key players in the entire Arctic system and global climate.

Lovisa Waldrop Bergman and Céline Heuzé
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Status: open (until 19 Dec 2018)
Status: open (until 19 Dec 2018)
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Lovisa Waldrop Bergman and Céline Heuzé
Data sets

CTD data Petermann15 C. Heuzé and A. Wåhlin https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.893180

The ERA‐Interim reanalysis: configuration and performance of the data assimilation system D. P. Dee, S. M. Uppala, A. J. Simmons, P. Berrisford, P. Poli, S. Kobayashi, U. Andrae, M. A. Balmaseda, G. Balsamo, P. Bauer, P. Bechtold, A. C. M. Beljaars, L. van de Berg, J. Bidlot, N. Bormann, C. Delsol, R. Dragani, M. Fuentes, A. J. Geer, L. Haimberger, S. B. Healy, H. Hersbach, E. V. Hólm, L. Isaksen, P. Kållberg, M. Köhler, M. Matricardi, A. P. McNally, B. M. Monge‐Sanz, J.‐J. Morcrette, B.‐K. Park, C. Peubey, P. de Rosnay, C. Tavolato, J.‐N. Thépaut, and F. Vitart https://doi.org/10.1002/qj.828

MIMOC: A Global Monthly Isopycnal Upper-Ocean Climatology with Mixed Layers S. Schmidtko, G. C. Johnson, and J. M. Lyman https://doi.org/10.1002/jgrc.20122

The Copernicus Marine Environment Monitoring Service Ocean State Report Von Schuckmann et al. https://doi.org/10.1080/1755876X.2016.1273446

Climate and carbon cycle changes from 1850 to 2100 in MPI-ESM simulations for the coupled model intercomparison project phase 5 Giorgetta et al. https://doi.org/10.1002/jame.20038

Lovisa Waldrop Bergman and Céline Heuzé
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How to force a model where no suitable observation exists? We here determine using MITgcm the relative influence of the choice of wind, initial hydrography, and sea ice cover on the resulting ocean circulation in Nares Strait, northwest Greenland. The input with the largest effect is the density gradient in the upper layer. We argue that it should be prioritised over high resolution wind for cost-effective simulations of the Arctic straits, crucial for modelling the Arctic freshwater export.
How to force a model where no suitable observation exists? We here determine using MITgcm the...
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