Influence of the West Spitsbergen Current on the local climate

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Abstract

Oceanographic observations of the Nordic Seas show significant interannual variability of the inflowing Atlantic Water properties and currents structure. Variations of the oceanic heat advected northward with the Atlantic Water influence climate. The aim of the study was examination, how changes of the West Spitsbergen Current properties and pathways influence the local climate conditions in the Fram Strait region. Results from observations carried in the Nordic Seas by the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences in summers 2000–2007 were compared with time series of air temperature in Spitsbergen and sea ice conditions north of Spitsbergen. We conclude that the heat advected with the West Spitsbergen Current shapes local conditions mostly during the winter. The highest correlations occur between the temperature of Atlantic Water and air temperature as well as the sea ice cover in the following winter. Copyright © 2011 Royal Meteorological Society

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