Coherent Arctic Ocean Bottom Pressure Variations

Arctic ocean bottom pressure
Arctic ocean bottom pressure
[18-Feb-2015] Across the Arctic Ocean and the Nordic Seas, GRACE and in-situ observations identified a basin-wide mode of ocean bottom pressure and sea-level fluctuation with spatially near-uniform amplitude and phase. This basin-wide fluctuation is barotropic and dominates the region's large-scale variability from sub-monthly to interannual timescales.
Using ECCO V4 and its adjoint, the source of these coherent ocean bottom pressure variations were identified as being coastally-trapped waves generated by winds along the continental slopes of the Arctic Mediterranean and its neighboring seas, including the North Atlantic Ocean. Winds drive Ekman transport across the large bathymetric gradients, forcing mass divergence between the shallow coastal area and the deep ocean basins and creating ocean bottom pressure anomalies of opposite signs in the two regions. The resulting propagation and mutual interaction of these waves gives rises to the observed pressure anomalies. This study illustrates the utility of using the model's adjoint for identifying causal mechanisms underlying a complex system.


Fukumori, I., Wang, O., Llovel, W., Fenty, I., and Forget, G. (2015). A Near-uniform Fluctuation of Ocean Bottom Pressure and Sea Level Across the Deep Ocean Basins of the Arctic Ocean and the Nordic Seas, Prog. Oceanogr., 134, 152-172, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2015.01.013.
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