COI Funded Project: Wind-Driven Shelf/Basin Exchange on a Broad Arctic Shelf: The Joint Roles of Ice Cover Extent and Shelfbreak Bathymetry


Project Funded: 2002

Proposed Research

Large continental shelves comprise over 30% of the surface area of the Arctic Ocean and play a key role in the dynamics of the region. The shelves are covered by ice for much of the year, so the direct effects of surface winds on the ocean beneath are severely limited. During summertime, the ice edge melts back, away from the coast, exposing the coastal waters to the direct effects of winds. Strong alongshore winds can drive upwelling, which pushes surface waters offshore and replaces them with deeper subsurface waters, potentially exchanging large quantities of shelf waters with their associated properties (for example, heat, salt, nutrients, carbon) with deeper offshore waters of the Arctic basins. I hypothesize that the effectiveness of this exchange depends critically on the location of the summertime ice edge relative to the shelf edge; significant exchange occurs only when the ice edge is located seaward of the shelf edge. I propose to demonstrate and quantify these effects in a numerical modeling study.