Oceanic heat flux in the Fram Strait measured by a drifting buoy



As one component of the Arctic Environmental Drifting Buoy, two thermistor strings were installed through the ice to measure ice temperatures and determine oceanic heat fluxes as the buoy drifted from the Arctic basin into the Greenland Sea. Ice temperature data between 14 Dec 1987 and 2 Jan 1988 were retrieved. During this period the AEDB progressed from approximately 81°N 4°E to 77°N 5°W. This constituted the most rapid displacement of the entire drift, coinciding with the entry of the floe into the marginal ice zone of Fram Strait. Once in the MIZ, water temperatures increased, most notably at a depth of 16 m, where values changed from −1.8°C to more than 2°C. Bottom ablation rates of 34 mm/day were observed between 21 and 28 Dec. During this excursion into warmer water, the oceanic heat flux increased by a factor of 18, from 7 W/m² to 128 W/m².