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Discussion papers | Copyright
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2018-22
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Mar 2018

Research article | 16 Mar 2018

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

Structure and dynamics of mesoscale eddies over the Laptev Sea continental slope in the Arctic Ocean

Andrey Pnyushkov1, Igor V. Polyakov2, Laurie Padman3, and An T. Nguyen4 Andrey Pnyushkov et al.
  • 1International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 2International Arctic Research Center and College of Natural Science and Mathematics, University of Alaska Fairbanks, AK, USA
  • 3Earth & Space Research, Corvallis, OR, USA
  • 4Institute of Computational Engineering and Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA

Abstract. Heat fluxes steered by mesoscale eddies may be a significant (but still not quantified) source of heat to the surface mixed layer and sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean, as well as a source of nutrients for enhancing seasonal productivity in the near-surface layers. Here we use four years (2007–2011) of velocity and hydrography records from a moored profiler over the Laptev Sea slope, and 15 months (2008–2009) of acoustic Doppler current profiler data from a nearby mooring, to investigate the structure and dynamics of eddies at the continental margin of the eastern Eurasian Basin. Typical eddy scales are radii of order of 10km, heights of six hundred meters, and maximum velocities of ~0.1ms−1. Eddies are approximately equally divided between cyclonic and anticyclonic polarizations, contrary to prior observations from the deep basins and along the Lomonosov Ridge. Eddies are present in the mooring records about 20–25% of the time, taking about one week to pass through the mooring at an average frequency of about one eddy per month. We found the eddies observed are formed in two distinct regions–near Fram Strait, where the western branch of Atlantic Water (AW) enters the Arctic Ocean, and near Severnaya Zemlya, where the Fram Strait and Barents Sea branches of the AW inflow merge. These eddies, embedded in the Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current, carry anomalous water properties along the eastern Arctic continental slope. The enhanced diapycnal mixing that we found within EB eddies suggests a potentially important role for eddies in the vertical redistribution of heat in the Arctic Ocean interior.

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Four years of velocity and hydrography records from moored profilers over the Laptev Sea slope revealed multiple events of eddy passing through the mooring site. These events suggest that advection of mesoscale eddies are an important component of ocean dynamics in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean. Increased vertical shear of current velocities found within eddies produces enhanced diapycnal mixing suggesting their importance for the redistribution of heat in the Arctic Ocean.
Four years of velocity and hydrography records from moored profilers over the Laptev Sea slope...
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