Hydrography and vertical fluxes of heat and salt northeast of Svalbard in autumn


  • Michael Steele,

  • James H. Morison


Temperature and salinity data collected by a SALARGOS buoy during October 1988 northeast of Svalbard, Norway, as part of the Coordinated Eastern Arctic Research Experiment are analyzed. As the buoy drifted across the continental slope, the data show a transition from central Arctic conditions, where the thermocline lies below the halocline, to shelf conditions, where the two coincide. Surface waters on the shelf were above the freezing point, losing heat to sea ice advected southward by the wind. The Atlantic Inflow Current was also observed on the continental slope, with a maximum temperature above 3°C. A storm caused upwelling and entrainment of this current, leading to strong ice-ocean heat fluxes and ice melting. The resulting flux of fresh water stabilized the surface layer and shut off further entrainment. This episodic process can lead to bigger heat losses from the Atlantic Inflow Current than previously considered for ice-covered conditions.