[1] CTD measurements from the Arctic Ocean 2001 expedition reveal that the cold halocline layer (CHL) has returned to the Amundsen Basin at a position close to that found during the Oden'91 expedition. River water from the Siberian shelves formed a strong freshwater front in the Amundsen Basin, extending from the Gakkel Ridge to the Lomonosov Ridge. Furthermore, we show from model computations that the presence of a CHL may increase winter sea ice growth by 0.25 m over one season compared to a case with a non-existing CHL due to increased vertical heat flux from the warm Atlantic water. The difference in sea ice growth is due to a much shallower winter convection with a CHL present, which is not able to reach into the warm Atlantic layer, resulting in a considerably smaller oceanic heat flux.