Maximizing the potential of Arctic Ocean Gateway array

Marie Curie project (EU Horizon 2020)
Duration: July 2015 to June 2017
Data can be found here.

The Arctic boundary has been observed over many years to better understand and monitor the exchanges between the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring oceans. The unique geometry of the Arctic—surrounded by the land masses of North America, Greenland and Siberia—has encouraged researchers to make a joint effort to enclose the Arctic Ocean with hydrographic observation lines (Figure 1).

A method to treat the Arctic as a single box bounded by hydrographic lines and land has been developed recent years. This pan-Arctic approach has produced significant scientific outcomes: the first quasi-synoptic net heat and FW transports in a single month from summer 2005 (Tsubouchi et al. 2012); the dissolved inorganic nutrient budget (Torres-Valdes et al., 2013), and a dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) budget (MacGilchrist et al. 2014); A full annual cycle of monthly net heat and FW transports during 2005–2006 (Tsubouchi et al. in revision.).

The ARCGATE, funded as a EU Marie Curie project, has integrated all the individual mooring arrays across the Arctic boundary. We have quantified time variability of both horizontal and vertical ocean circulation and associated heat and fresh water (FW) transports over many years.  The monthly volume transport in Arctic major four gateways has been quantified for the years 2004-2010  (Figure 2). The associated total boundary heat flux, as a sum of oceanic and sea ice contributions, is 180±57 TW (mean ± standard deviation for the 68 months). That of FW flux is 156±91 mSv. The diagnosed time series provide a benchmark data set for the validation of numerical general circulation models of the Arctic Ocean and air-sea surface heat and FW fluxes estimates from atmospheric re-analyses.


The Arctic main gateways have been measured by six research institutes in the world: the University of Washington (UW) in the United States (US) for Davis Strait and for the US side of Bering Strait; the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in Tromsø, Norway and the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany for western and eastern Fram Strait, respectively; the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in Bergen, Norway for the Barents Sea Opening (BSO); and the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) in the US and Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute in Russia for the Russian side of Bering Strait. The pan-Artic approach is developed under two UK NERC projects, ASBO and TEA-COSI.