Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Topographic enhancement of tidal motion in the western Barents Sea


  • Z. Kowalik,

  • A. Yu. Proshutinsky


A high-resolution numerical lattice is used to study a topographically trapped motion around islands and shallow banks of the western Barents Sea caused both by the semidiurnal and diurnal tidal waves. Observations and model computations in the vicinity of Bear Island show well-developed trapped motion with distinctive tidal oscillatory motion. Numerical investigations demonstrate that one source of the trapped motion is tidal current rectification over shallow topography. Tidal motion supports residual currents of the order of 8 cm s−1 around Bear Island and shallow Spitsbergenbanken. The structures of enhanced tidal currents for the semidiurnal components are generated in the shallow areas due to topographic amplification. In the diurnal band of oscillations the maximum current is associated with the shelf wave occurrence. Residual currents due to diurnal tides occur at both the shallow areas and the shelf slope in regions of maximum topographic gradients. Surface manifestation of the diurnal current enhancement is the local maximum of tidal amplitude at the shelf break of the order of 5 to 10 cm. Tidal current enhancement and tidally generated residual currents in the Bear Island and Spitsbergenbanken regions cause an increased generation of ice leads, ridges and, trapped motion of the ice floes.