Sea ice retreat - using AUVs to measure the turbulent polar oceans

Lead Research Organisation: Scottish Association For Marine Science
Department Name: Scottish Association For Marine Science


Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is capable of isolating the water column from wind forcing. The result is that mixing is weaker in the Arctic than in the rest of the world's oceans. As the Arctic Ocean evolves to a seasonally more ice-free state, it is anticipated that the increased area of open water will lead to larger atmospheric forcing of the Arctic Ocean. The increased energy input is likely to enhance mixing through the water column via the generation of internal waves. Greater internal wave-induced mixing will lead to enhanced vertical flux of heat and greater melting of sea ice. Other water column properties are also likely to see enhanced vertical fluxes; notably nutrients, which have the potential to fuel greater biological production under reduced sea ice cover. However, many of the observations of internal waves in the Arctic have been made in ice covered waters, and the role and prevalence of episodic mixing events in open water conditions remain poorly understood.


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