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Western Barents Sea Circulation and Hydrography, past and present
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  • Eivind Hugaas Kolås,
  • Till M. Baumann,
  • Ragnheid Skogseth,
  • Zoe Koenig,
  • Ilker Fer
Eivind Hugaas Kolås
University of Bergen

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Till M. Baumann
Geophysical Institute University of Bergen and Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research
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Ragnheid Skogseth
University Centre in Svalbard
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Zoe Koenig
Norwegian Polar Institute
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Ilker Fer
University of Bergen
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The Barents Sea is one of the main pathways for warm and saline Atlantic Water (AW) entering the Arctic Ocean. It is an important region for water mass transformation and dense-water production that contribute to the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Here, we present data from three cruises and nine glider missions conducted between 2019 and 2022 in the western Barents Sea, and compare with historical data collected from 1950 to 2009. We present circulation pathways, hydrography, heat content and volume fluxes of Atlantic- and Arctic-origin waters. Our observations show that 0.9±0.1 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s-1) of Atlantic-origin water reaches the Polar Front (PF) region before splitting into several branches and eventually subducting beneath Polar Water (PW). The observed increased heat content in the AW inflow over the past decades can be traced under the Polar front. The amount of heat stored in the basin north of the PF is determined by the density difference between AW and PW, and reached a maximum in the 90s when PW was particularly fresh. The inflow of Atlantic Water (AW) into the Barents Sea during the period from 2019 to 2022 exhibits a decrease in salinity of up to 0.1 g kg-1 compared to previous decades. Consequently, this leads to a reduction in the production of dense water, an increased temperature gradient across the PF, and a reduced poleward transport of warm water.
09 Aug 2023Submitted to ESS Open Archive
14 Aug 2023Published in ESS Open Archive