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The Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current

The Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current
The Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current
We present high?resolution simulations and observational data as evidence of a fast current flowing along the shelf break of the Siberian and Alaskan shelves in the Arctic Ocean. Thus far, the Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current (ACBC) has been seen as comprising two branches: the Fram Strait and Barents Sea Branches (FSB and BSB, respectively). Here we describe a new third branch, the Arctic Shelf Break Branch (ASBB). We show that the forcing mechanism for the ASBB is a combination of buoyancy loss and non?local wind, creating high pressure upstream in the Barents Sea. The potential vorticity influx through the St. Anna Trough dictates the cyclonic direction of flow of the ASBB, which is the most energetic large?scale circulation structure in the Arctic Ocean. It plays a substantial role in transporting Arctic halocline waters and exhibits a robust seasonal cycle with a summer minimum and winter maximum. The simulations show the continuity of the FSB all the way around the Arctic shelves and the uninterrupted ASBB between the St. Anna Trough and the western Fram Strait. The BSB flows continuously along the Siberian shelf as far as the Chukchi Plateau, where it partly diverges from the continental slope into the ocean interior. The Alaskan Shelf break Current (ASC) is the analog of the ASBB in the Canadian Arctic. The ASC is forced by the local winds and high upstream pressure in Bering Strait, caused by the drop in sea surface height between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.
arctic ocean, boundary currents, ocean modelling
0148-0227
C09017
Aksenov, Yevgeny
1d277047-06f6-4893-8bcf-c2817a9c848e
Ivanov, Vladimir V.
69891325-0d10-41d9-aa8e-9f0abfcf3be6
Nurser, A.J. George
2493ef9a-21e9-4d8b-9c32-08677e7e145a
Bacon, Sheldon
1e7aa6e3-4fb4-4230-8ba7-90837304a9a7
Polyakov, Igor V.
e8c20ffa-5c91-49c7-8165-460c3c1db859
Coward, Andrew C.
53b78140-2e65-476a-b287-e8384a65224b
Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.
97c0e923-f076-4b38-b89b-938e11cea7a6
Beszczynska-Moeller, Agnieszka
5688b4de-9f22-44df-a0a3-cd45e43842cd
Aksenov, Yevgeny
1d277047-06f6-4893-8bcf-c2817a9c848e
Ivanov, Vladimir V.
69891325-0d10-41d9-aa8e-9f0abfcf3be6
Nurser, A.J. George
2493ef9a-21e9-4d8b-9c32-08677e7e145a
Bacon, Sheldon
1e7aa6e3-4fb4-4230-8ba7-90837304a9a7
Polyakov, Igor V.
e8c20ffa-5c91-49c7-8165-460c3c1db859
Coward, Andrew C.
53b78140-2e65-476a-b287-e8384a65224b
Naveira Garabato, Alberto C.
97c0e923-f076-4b38-b89b-938e11cea7a6
Beszczynska-Moeller, Agnieszka
5688b4de-9f22-44df-a0a3-cd45e43842cd

Aksenov, Yevgeny, Ivanov, Vladimir V., Nurser, A.J. George, Bacon, Sheldon, Polyakov, Igor V., Coward, Andrew C., Naveira Garabato, Alberto C. and Beszczynska-Moeller, Agnieszka (2011) The Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116 (C9), C09017.

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present high?resolution simulations and observational data as evidence of a fast current flowing along the shelf break of the Siberian and Alaskan shelves in the Arctic Ocean. Thus far, the Arctic Circumpolar Boundary Current (ACBC) has been seen as comprising two branches: the Fram Strait and Barents Sea Branches (FSB and BSB, respectively). Here we describe a new third branch, the Arctic Shelf Break Branch (ASBB). We show that the forcing mechanism for the ASBB is a combination of buoyancy loss and non?local wind, creating high pressure upstream in the Barents Sea. The potential vorticity influx through the St. Anna Trough dictates the cyclonic direction of flow of the ASBB, which is the most energetic large?scale circulation structure in the Arctic Ocean. It plays a substantial role in transporting Arctic halocline waters and exhibits a robust seasonal cycle with a summer minimum and winter maximum. The simulations show the continuity of the FSB all the way around the Arctic shelves and the uninterrupted ASBB between the St. Anna Trough and the western Fram Strait. The BSB flows continuously along the Siberian shelf as far as the Chukchi Plateau, where it partly diverges from the continental slope into the ocean interior. The Alaskan Shelf break Current (ASC) is the analog of the ASBB in the Canadian Arctic. The ASC is forced by the local winds and high upstream pressure in Bering Strait, caused by the drop in sea surface height between the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.

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e-pub ahead of print date: 17 September 2011
Published date: September 2011
Keywords: arctic ocean, boundary currents, ocean modelling
Organisations: Marine Systems Modelling, Physical Oceanography, Marine Physics and Ocean Climate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 202517
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/202517
ISSN: 0148-0227
PURE UUID: 3b812809-25ef-48be-a2d3-7fcd237fb76b

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Date deposited: 07 Nov 2011 16:18
Last modified: 09 Nov 2017 12:45

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