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Understanding climatic controls on sea-ice transport pathways in the Arctic Ocean

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The primary goal of this paper is to demonstrate the dependence of Arctic Ocean sea-ice transport pathways on climate variations. We build our analysis on the results of Proshutinsky and Johnson (1997), Johnson and others (1999), Polyakov and others (1999) and Proshutinsky and others (1999), where we have shown that wind-driven ice motion and upper ocean circulation alternate between anticyclonic and cyclonic states. Shifts between regimes occur at 5–7 year intervals, resulting in a 10–15 year period. The anticyclonic circulation regime has been observed in our model results for 1946–52, 1958–62, 1972–79, 1984–88 and 1998–present. The cyclonic circulation regime prevailed during 1953–57, 1963–71, 1980–83 and 1989–97. The regime shifts are fundamentally important to understanding the Arctic's general circulation and particularly useful for estimating pollution transport by sea ice and surface waters. It is important to pollution studies to understand which circulation regime prevails. Initially, we simulate trajectories of a non-reactive, conservative soluble tracer. Results from this research demonstrate realistic potential flow pathlines and we describe how those pathlines change in response to climate forcing. These results can be used to aid current and future scenario risk assessments and may provide management agencies with the tools to determine where risks from contaminants might exist.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-01-01

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  • The Annals of Glaciology is a peer-reviewed, thematic journal published 2 to 4 times a year by the International Glaciological Society (IGS). Publication frequency is determined and volume/issue numbers assigned by the IGS Council on a year-to-year basis and with a lead time of 3 to 4 years. The Annals of Glaciology is included in the ISI Science Citation Index from volume 50, number 50 onwards.

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