International Arctic Research Center
University of Alaska, Fairbanks
Title: Penetration of wind energy into the Arctic Ocean: impact of a changing ice cover
Abstract: A subsurface mooring on the Lomonosov Ridge monitored currents in the upper 120 meters of the ocean at high spatial and temporal resolution for one year. Vertical propagation of sheared, near-inertial fluctuations dominates the record. It is argued that the energy source for these oscillations is the disturbance of the ice-pack by winds. This form of energy input into the ocean is a dominant mechanism supporting mixing in the world ocean. In the Arctic Ocean interior there are many reasons to believe that turbulent mixing is weak, and yet deep ventilation can be
inferred. The present observations suggest that the dissipation of wind energy in the Arctic is most likely in boundary layers and along the basin margins. Consequences of reduced seasonal ice-cover will be discussed, considering the effects of a modified surface boundary layer and direct mechanical energy transfer in ice-free conditions.