Response of Total and Eddy Kinetic Energy to the recent spin up of the Beaufort Gyre

Type Article
Date 2020-03
Language English
Author(s) Regan Heather1, Lique CamilleORCID1, Talandier Claude3, Meneghello Gianluca2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), IUEM, Brest 29280, France
2 : Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139-4307, USA
3 : Univ. Brest, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale (LOPS), IUEM, Brest 29280, France
Source Journal Of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (American Meteorological Society), 2020-03 , Vol. 50 , N. 3 , P. 575-594
DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-19-0234.1
WOS© Times Cited 4
Keyword(s) Ocean, Arctic, Eddies, Ocean dynamics, Ocean models
Abstract

The Beaufort Gyre in the Arctic Ocean has spun up over the past two decades in response to changes of the wind forcing and sea ice conditions, accumulating a significant amount of freshwater. Here a simulation performed with a high-resolution, eddy resolving model is analyzed in order to provide a detailed description of the total and eddy kinetic energy, and their response to this spin up of the gyre. On average, and in contrast to the typical open ocean conditions, the levels of mean and eddy kinetic energy are of the same order of magnitude, and the eddy kinetic energy is only intensified along the boundary and in the subsurface. In response to the strong anomalous atmospheric conditions in 2007, the gyre spins up and the mean kinetic energy almost doubles, while the eddy kinetic energy does not increase significantly for a long time period. This is because the isopycnals are able to flatten and the gyre expands outwards, reducing the potential for baroclinic instability. These results have implications for understanding the mechanisms at play for equilibrating the Beaufort Gyre and the variability and future changes of the Arctic freshwater system.

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