Recent Variability in the Arctic Ocean and Subarctic Seas

Rachel Elizabeth Nichols, University of South Carolina Columbia, Columbia, SC, United States, Subrahmanyam Bulusu, University of South Carolina Columbia, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, Columbia, SC, United States and Anthony Arguez, National Centers for Environmental Information, Asheville, NC, United States
Abstract:
The Arctic Ocean and subarctic seas have been undergoing significant changes, particularly evident throughout the past few decades. In this paper we examine the declining sea ice extent (-0.0639 million km2 yr-1), the increasing sea surface temperature (approximately 0.01 to 0.03 ºC yr-1) and sea surface height (1.5 to 2.22 mm yr-1) and changing patterns of sea surface salinity and surface wind speeds using a variety of reanalysis and observational data products from 1990 to 2017. The Amerasian Basin, particularly the Beaufort Gyre, has been freshening, concurrent with a salinification of the Eurasian Basin, both of which are due to changes in atmospheric circulation, freshwater storage, and ice melt. We found significant correlations between many of the variables, for example between sea level and temperature in the Pacific (R = 0.4097) and Atlantic (R = 0.2118). We also found correlations between many of these variables and different climate indices, for example North Atlantic Oscillation and wind speed in the Atlantic (R = 0.5197), Arctic Oscillation and wind speed in the Atlantic (R = 0.5995), and Arctic Ocean Oscillation and sea surface temperature in the Arctic (R = 0.5278) and Atlantic (R = 0.6100).