Barents Sea upstream events impact the properties of Atlantic water inflow into the Arctic Ocean: Evidence from 2005 to 2006 downstream observations

Igor A. Dmitrenko, Dorothea Bauch, Sergey A. Kirillov, Nikolay Koldunov, Peter J. Minnett, Vladimir V. Ivanov, Jens A. Hölemann, Leonid A. Timokhov

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16 Scopus citations


Inflow of Atlantic water (AW) from Fram Strait and the Barents Sea into the Arctic Ocean conditions the intermediate (100-1000 m) waters of the Arctic Ocean Eurasian margins. While over the Siberian margin the Fram Strait AW branch (FSBW) has exhibited continuous dramatic warming beginning in 2004, the tendency of the Barents Sea AW branch (BSBW) has remained poorly known. Here we document the contrary cooling tendency of the BSBW through the analysis of observational data collected from the icebreaker Kapitan Dranitsyn over the continental slope of the Eurasian Basin in 2005 and 2006. The CTD data from the R.V. Polarstern cruise in 1995 were used as a reference point for evaluating external atmospheric and sea-ice forcing and oxygen isotope analysis. Our data show that in 2006 the BSBW core was saltier (by ∼0.037), cooler (by ∼0.41 °C), denser (by ∼0.04 kg/m3), deeper (by 150-200 m), and relatively better ventilated (by 7-8 μmol/kg of dissolved oxygen, or by 1.1-1.7% of saturation) compared with 2005. We hypothesize that the shift of the meridional wind from off-shore to on-shore direction during the BSBW translation through the Barents and northern Kara seas results in longer surface residence time for the BSBW sampled in 2006 compared with samples from 2005. The cooler, more saline, and better-ventilated BSBW sampled in 2006 may result from longer upstream translation through the Barents and northern Kara seas where the BSBW was modified by sea-ice formation and interaction with atmosphere. The data for stable oxygen isotopes from 1995 and 2006 reveals amplified brine modification of the BSBW core sampled downstream in 2006, which supports the assumption of an increased upstream residence time as indicated by wind patterns and dissolved oxygen values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-527
Number of pages15
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009



  • Arctic Ocean
  • Atlantic water
  • Barents Sea water inflow
  • Ice and atmospheric forcing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science

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