Scope of activities

The goal of this team is to write a review article about shelf-break upwelling in the peripheral seas of the Arctic Ocean, from the Eastern Beaufort westward through the southern Nansen Basin / northern Barents Sea.  Our hypothesis is that this upwelling has likely changed owing to changes in surface stress from retreating sea ice and also from changing ocean conditions (e.g., western Arctic Ocean freshening).  We see a gap in the literature in terms of a pan-arctic survey of how upwelling varies across the peripheral seas.

We will focus on upwelling in non-canyon areas (i.e., on areas with relatively simple geometries).  A recent paper by Williams and Carmack (2015) [PDF] focused on the wind- and ice-forced upwelling stress at the shelf breaks from the Eastern Beaufort to the Kara Seas; thus we plan to focus instead on the response of the ocean to these forces.  We will show vertical sections of ocean hydrography in upwelling favorable/neutral/unfavorable surface forcing conditions, using both existing observations as well as model output. We will also plot multi-year time series of key variables such as near-shore ocean temperature or shelf-break area isopycnal height anomaly to determine trends and variability.  Analysis of model tracer experiments will also be a component of this work.

Team leaders

Michael Steele
Applied Physics Laboratory at UW

Stephen Kelly
National Oceanography Centre (Southampton)


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