Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

A study of oceanic surface heat fluxes in the Greenland, Norwegian, and Barents Seas


  • Sirpa Häkkinen,

  • Donald J. Cavalieri


This study examines oceanic surface heat fluxes in the Norwegian, Greenland, and Barents seas using the gridded Navy Fleet Numerical Oceanography Central surface analysis and the First GARP Global Experiment (FGGE) IIc cloudiness data bases. Monthly and annual means of net and turbulent heat fluxes are computed for the FGGE year 1979. The FGGE IIb data base consisting of individual observations provides particularly good data coverage in this region for a comparison with the gridded Navy winds and air temperatures. The standard errors of estimate between the Navy and FGGE IIb winds and air temperatures are 3.6 m/s and 2.5°C, respectively. The computations for the latent and sensible heat fluxes are based on bulk formulas with the same constant heat exchange coefficient of 1.5×10−3. The results show extremely strong wintertime heat fluxes in the northern Greenland Sea and especially in the Barents Sea in contrast to previous studies. The highest monthly average net fluxes are well over 400 W m−2 in these two regions in January and February 1979. The estimated uncertainty for the higher heat fluxes based on the comparison between the FGGE IIb and the Navy data sets is about ±30%.