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The ice-ocean governor: ice-ocean stress feedback limits Beaufort Gyre spin-up


Memeghello, G and Marshall, J and Campin, J-M and Doddridge, E and Timmermans, M-L, The ice-ocean governor: ice-ocean stress feedback limits Beaufort Gyre spin-up, Geophysical Research Letters, 45, (20) pp. 11,293-11,299. ISSN 0094-8276 (2018) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1029/2018GL080171


The Beaufort Gyre is a key circulation system of the Arctic Ocean and its main reservoir of freshwater. Freshwater storage and release affects Arctic sea ice cover, as well as North Atlantic and global climate. We describe a mechanism that is fundamental to the dynamics of the gyre, namely, the ice-ocean stress governor. Wind blows over the ice, and the ice drags the ocean. But as the gyre spins up, currents catch the ice up and turn off the surface stress. This governor sets the basic properties of the gyre, such as its depth, freshwater content, and strength. Analytical and numerical modeling is employed to contrast the equilibration processes in an ice-covered versus ice-free gyre. We argue that as the Arctic warms, reduced sea ice extent and more mobile ice will result in a deeper and faster Beaufort Gyre, accumulating more freshwater that will be released by Ekman upwelling or baroclinic instability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:ocean, sea ice, Arctic
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Doddridge, E (Dr Edward Doddridge)
ID Code:150148
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:37
Deposited By:Oceans and Cryosphere
Deposited On:2022-05-30
Last Modified:2022-06-01

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