EGU21-10382, updated on 04 Mar 2021
https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10382
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Evolving air-sea interaction due to sea-ice retreat points to a re-organisation of water mass transformation in the Nordic and Barents Seas

Kent Moore1, Kjetil Våge2, Ian Renfrew3, and Bob Pickart4
Kent Moore et al.
  • 1Department of Physics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada (gwk.moore@utoronto.ca)
  • 2Geophysics Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 3School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 4Department of Physical Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, USA

The Nordic and Barents Seas play a critical role in the climate system resulting from water mass transformation, triggered by intense air-sea heat fluxes, that is an integral component of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). These seas are undergoing rapid warming, associated with a retreat in ice cover. Here we present a novel analysis, covering the period 1950-2020, of the spatiotemporal variability of the air-sea heat fluxes along the region’s boundary currents, where the impacts on the water mass transformation are large.  We find that the variability is a function of the relative orientation of the current and the axis of sea-ice change that can result in up to a doubling of the heat fluxes over the period of interest. This implies enhanced water mass transformation is occurring along these currents. In contrast, previous work has shown a reduction in fluxes in the interior sites of the Nordic Seas, where ocean convection is also observed, suggesting that a reorganization may be underway in the nature of the water mass transformation, that needs to be considered when ascertaining how the AMOC will respond to a warming climate.

How to cite: Moore, K., Våge, K., Renfrew, I., and Pickart, B.: Evolving air-sea interaction due to sea-ice retreat points to a re-organisation of water mass transformation in the Nordic and Barents Seas, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-10382, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-egu21-10382, 2021.

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