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  1. Abstract

    The Arctic Ocean is strongly stratified by salinity in the uppermost layers. This stratification is a key attribute of the region as it acts as an effective barrier for the vertical exchanges of Atlantic Water heat, nutrients, and CO2between intermediate depths and the surface of the Eurasian and Amerasian basins (EB and AB, respectively). Observations show that from 1970 to 2017, the stratification in the AB has strengthened, whereas, in parts of the EB, the stratification has weakened. The strengthening in the AB is linked to freshening and deepening of the halocline. In the EB, the weakened stratification is associated with salinification and shoaling of the halocline (Atlantification). Simulations from a suite of CMIP6 models project that, under a strong greenhouse gas forcing scenario (ssp585), the overall surface freshening and warming continue in both basins, but there is a divergence in hydrographic trends in certain regions. Within the AB, there is agreement among the models that the upper layers will become more stratified. However, within the EB, models diverge regarding future stratification. This is due to different balances between trends at the surface and trends at depth, related to Fram Strait fluxes. The divergence affects projections of the future state of Arctic sea ice, as models with the strongest Atlantification project the strongest decline in sea ice volume in the EB. From these simulations, one could conclude that Atlantification will not spread eastward into the AB; however, models must be improved to simulate changes in a more intricately stratified EB correctly.

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  2. Abstract

    During the last deglaciation Earth’s climate experienced strong and abrupt variations, resulting in major changes in global temperature, sea level, and ocean circulation. Although proxy records have significantly improved our understanding of climate during this period, questions remain regarding the connection between ocean circulation evolution and resulting geotracer distributions, including those of deep waters in the Pacific. Here we use the C‐iTRACE simulation, a transient ocean‐only, isotope‐enabled version of the Community Earth System Model, to better understand deglacial deep Pacific radiocarbon evolution in the context of circulation and reservoir age changes. Throughout the deglaciation, the Pacific Ocean circulation in C‐iTRACE responds strongly to glacial meltwater forcing, leading to large changes in deep Pacific Δ14C age. A multi‐millennial weakening of the overturning circulation from 20 to 15 ka BP leads to increases in deep Pacific Δ14C ages, but from 20 to 18 ka BP, nearly half (40%–60%) of this aging is controlled by changing surface reservoir age, corroborating previous studies showing that Δ14C is not solely a circulation age tracer. As the deglaciation proceeds, circulation change controls progressively more of the Δ14C age, accounting for more than 75% of it across the deep Pacific from 15 to 8 ka BP.

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  3. Abstract

    The Arctic has undergone dramatic changes in sea ice cover and the hydrologic cycle, both of which strongly impact the freshwater storage in, and export from, the Arctic Ocean. Here we analyze Arctic freshwater storage and fluxes in seven climate models from the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 6 (CMIP6) and assess their performance over the historical period (1980–2000) and in two future emissions scenarios, SSP1‐2.6 and SSP5‐8.5. Similar to CMIP5, substantial differences exist between the models' Arctic mean states and the magnitude of their 21st century storage and flux changes. In the historical simulation, most models disagree with observations over 1980–2000. In both future scenarios, the models show an increase in liquid freshwater storage and a reduction in solid storage and fluxes through the major Arctic gateways (Bering Strait, Fram Strait, Davis Strait, and the Barents Sea Opening) that is typically larger for SSP5‐8.5 than SSP1‐2.6. The liquid fluxes are driven by both volume and salinity changes, with models exhibiting a change in sign (relative to 1980–2000) of the freshwater flux through the Barents Sea Opening by mid‐century, little change in the Bering Strait flux, and increased export from the remaining straits by the end of the 21st century. In the straits west of Greenland (Nares, Barrow, and Davis straits), the models disagree on the behavior of the liquid freshwater export in the early‐to‐mid 21st century due to differences in the magnitude and timing of a simulated decrease in the volume flux.

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