Intensification of Near‐Surface Currents and Shear in the Eastern Arctic Ocean
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionGeophysical Research Letters. 2020, 47 (16), e2020GL089469. 10.1029/2020GL089469
A 15‐year (2004–2018) record of mooring observations from the upper 50 m of the ocean in the eastern Eurasian Basin reveals increased current speeds and vertical shear, associated with an increasing coupling between wind, ice, and the upper ocean over 2004–2018, particularly in summer. Substantial increases in current speeds and shears in the upper 50 m are dominated by a two times amplification of currents in the semidiurnal band, which includes tides and wind‐forced near‐inertial oscillations. For the first time the strengthened upper ocean currents and shear are observed to coincide with weakening stratification. This coupling links the Atlantic Water heat to the sea ice, a consequence of which would be reducing regional sea ice volume. These results point to a new positive feedback mechanism in which reduced sea ice extent facilitates more energetic inertial oscillations and associated upper‐ocean shear, thus leading to enhanced ventilation of the Atlantic Water.