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The Barents Sea Polar Front and Water Masses Variability (1980–2011) : Volume 12, Issue 2 (10/03/2015)

By Oziel, L.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004020891
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 44
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: The Barents Sea Polar Front and Water Masses Variability (1980–2011) : Volume 12, Issue 2 (10/03/2015)  
Author: Oziel, L.
Volume: Vol. 12, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Ocean, Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Gascard, J., Sirven, J., & Oziel, L. (2015). The Barents Sea Polar Front and Water Masses Variability (1980–2011) : Volume 12, Issue 2 (10/03/2015). Retrieved from

Description: Sorbonne Universités (UPMC, Univ. Paris 06)-CNRS-IRD-MNHN, LOCEAN Laboratory, IPSL, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, 75005, Paris, France. The polar front separates the warm and saline Atlantic Waters encountered in the western part of the Barents Sea from the cold and fresh Arctic Waters situated in the northern part. These water masses can mix together, mainly in the eastern part of the Barents Sea, generating dense waters in winter which can cascade into the Arctic Ocean to form the Artic Intermediate Waters. To study the interannual variability and evolution of these water masses and the fronts, we have merged data from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and have built a new database which covers the period 1980–2011. The summer data is interpolated on a regular grid and a Probability Density Function method is used to show that the polar front splits into two branches east of 32° E where the topographic constraint weakens. Two fronts can then be defined: the Northern Polar Front is associated with strong salinity gradients and the Southern Polar Front with temperature gradients. They enclose the dense Barents Sea Water. The interannual variability of the water masses is apparent in the observed data and is linked to that of the ice cover. In contrast, the link with the Arctic Oscillation is not clear. However, results from a general circulation model suggest that such a link could be found if winter data were taken into account. A strong trend, which amplifies during the last decade, is also found: the Atlantic Water occupies a larger volume of the Barents Sea. This Atlantification could be accompanied by a northwards displacement of the southern polar front in the eastern part of the Barents Sea (which is suggested by a model based study) and a decrease of the volume occupied by the Arctic Waters.

The Barents Sea polar front and water masses variability (1980–2011)

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