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Prieto E.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Gonzalez-Pola C.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Lavin A.,Spanish Institute of Oceanography | Holliday N.P.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

The oceanic hydrography of the north-easternmost region of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre has been monitored since 2003 by three sections extending between 100 and 200 nautical miles from the Spanish NW and N coast into the Atlantic and the Bay of Biscay. The sections were occupied twice a year from 2003 to 2010, annually after that, and measure the whole water column (>5000 m). Correlation of series in the vertical and among sections, autocorrelation and estimates of the effect of the noise induced by the mesoscale field, all indicate that observed signatures are robust changes of water masses at the regional scale. The hydrographic time series are not characterized by smooth trends but instead by shifts that persist through consecutive cruises. The most notable features include a shift to more saline central waters around 2005 after which they remained stable, and a decrease in thermohaline properties of the Labrador Sea Water from autumn 2008 to 2010. Years with a strong winter North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) index are characterized by shifts in thermohaline properties across most of the intermediate levels, with the most notable event being the warming and increasing salinity that followed the large NAO index drop of 2010. The observations are consistent with current understanding of the large-scale functioning of the North Atlantic, which predicts a northeastward expansion of subtropical temperate waters in the eastern boundary as a response to NAO forcing. The observed variability is discussed in relationship to large-scale circulation. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. Source

Aksenov Y.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | Karcher M.,Alfred Wegener InstituteBremerhaven Germany | Gerdes R.,Alfred Wegener InstituteBremerhaven Germany | de Cuevas B.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Pacific Water (PW) enters the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait and brings in heat, fresh water, and nutrients from the northern Bering Sea. The circulation of PW in the central Arctic Ocean is only partially understood due to the lack of observations. In this paper, pathways of PW are investigated using simulations with six state-of-the art regional and global Ocean General Circulation Models (OGCMs). In the simulations, PW is tracked by a passive tracer, released in Bering Strait. Simulated PW spreads from the Bering Strait region in three major branches. One of them starts in the Barrow Canyon, bringing PW along the continental slope of Alaska into the Canadian Straits and then into Baffin Bay. The second begins in the vicinity of the Herald Canyon and transports PW along the continental slope of the East Siberian Sea into the Transpolar Drift, and then through Fram Strait and the Greenland Sea. The third branch begins near the Herald Shoal and the central Chukchi shelf and brings PW into the Beaufort Gyre. In the models, the wind, acting via Ekman pumping, drives the seasonal and interannual variability of PW in the Canadian Basin of the Arctic Ocean. The wind affects the simulated PW pathways by changing the vertical shear of the relative vorticity of the ocean flow in the Canada Basin. © 2015. The Authors. Source

Lawrence J.,UK National Oceanography Center | Popova E.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | Yool A.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | Srokosz M.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Rapidly retreating sea ice is expected to influence future phytoplankton production in the Arctic Ocean by perturbing nutrient and light fields, but poor understanding of present phytoplankton distributions and governing mechanisms make projected changes highly uncertain. Here we use a simulation that reproduces observed seasonal phytoplankton chlorophyll distributions and annual nitrate to hypothesize that surface nitrate limitation in the Arctic Ocean deepens vertical production distributions where light-dependent growth rates are lower. We extend this to interpret depth-integrated production changes projected by the simulation for an ice-free Arctic Ocean. Future spatial changes correspond to patterns of reduced surface nitrate and increased light. Surface nitrate inventory reductions in the Beaufort Gyre and Atlantic inflow waters drive colocated production distributions deeper to where light is lower, offsetting increases in light over the water column due to reduced ice cover and thickness. Modest production increases arise, 10% in a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean and increasing to 30% by the end of the century, occurring at depth. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. Source

Feng X.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | Tsimplis M.N.,National Oceanography CentreSouthampton UK | Woodworth P.L.,National Oceanography CentreLiverpool UK
Journal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans

The long-term changes in the main tidal constituents (O1, K1, M2, N2, and S2) along the coasts of China and in adjacent seas are investigated based on 17 tide-gauge records covering the period 1954-2012. The observed 18.61 year nodal modulations of the diurnal constituents O1 and K1 are in agreement with the equilibrium tidal theory, except in the South China Sea. The observed modulations of the M2 and N2 amplitudes are smaller than theoretically predicted at the northern stations and larger at the southern stations. The discrepancies between the theoretically predicted nodal variations and the observations are discussed. The 8.85 year perigean cycle is identifiable in the N2 parameters at most stations, except those in the South China Sea. The radiational component of S2 contributes on average 16% of the observed S2 except in the Gulf of Tonkin, on the south coast, where it accounts for up to 65%. We confirmed the existence of nodal modulation in S2, which is stronger on the north coast. The semidiurnal tidal parameters show significant secular trends in the Bohai and Yellow Seas, on the north coast, and in the Taiwan Strait. The largest increase is found for M2 for which the amplitude increases by 4-7 mm/yr in the Yellow Sea. The potential causes for the linear trends in tidal constants are discussed. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Source

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