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Title: Partitioning of Kinetic Energy in the Arctic Ocean's Beaufort Gyre: BEAUFORT GYRE KINETIC ENERGY
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Page Range / eLocation ID:
4806 to 4819
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. The Beaufort Gyre in the Arctic Ocean has spun up over the past two decades in response to changes of the wind forcing and sea ice conditions, accumulating a significant amount of freshwater. Here a simulation performed with a high-resolution, eddy-resolving model is analyzed in order to provide a detailed description of the total and eddy kinetic energy and their response to this spinup of the gyre. On average, and in contrast to the typical open ocean conditions, the levels of mean and eddy kinetic energy are of the same order of magnitude, and the eddy kinetic energy is only intensified along the boundary and in the subsurface. In response to the strong anomalous atmospheric conditions in 2007, the gyre spins up and the mean kinetic energy almost doubles, while the eddy kinetic energy does not increase significantly for a long time period. This is because the isopycnals are able to flatten and the gyre expands outwards, reducing the potential for baroclinic instability. These results have implications for understanding the mechanisms at play for equilibrating the Beaufort Gyre and the variability and future changes of the Arctic freshwater system.

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