Midterm Colloquium by Cecilie Drost Aakjær – Niels Bohr Institutet - Københavns Universitet

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Midterm Colloquium by Cecilie Drost Aakjær

Dynamics of Arctic Ocean Freshwater Storage in the EC-Earth coupled Climate Model

An investigation of the freshwater in the Arctic along with an understanding of the freshwater content is becoming a matter of pressing importance because of its high influence on the climate. ’The significance [... edit] is increasing with societal demand to explain the rapidly changing Arctic Climate’ - Proshutinsky et.al. (2009).

The aim of this study is to try to understand the content of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean, and in particular the Beaufort Gyre. The Arctic Ocean is probably the least studied and most poorly understood of any body of water of comparable size. This is due to the sparse observational data and sparse understanding of the circulation and mixing processes. Hence this study is based on model data. An estimation of the variations of the fresh water content without climate forcings are made by investigating results from a preindustrial control run of an ocean-atmosphere cobbled model. This enables a perspective on modern observations of freshwater content in the Arctic Ocean. Along the way it has been necessary to investigate different parameters of the model for validation. This includes the volume and freshwater transport in and out of the Arctic Ocean.

Finally an explanation is sought for which kind of climate and atmospheric/ocean patterns that can explain these variations in freshwater content. Especially how the mean sea level pressure and wind stress curl behave in periods of high and low freshwater content. The question is if the differences in these patterns can explain the variations seen in freshwater content, or if the variations are due to changes in the ocean circulation - or a combination of the two.