Exploring the role of the “Ice-Ocean governor” and mesoscale eddies in the equilibration of the Beaufort Gyre: lessons from observations

Jeffery R Scott1, Gianluca Meneghello1, Edward Doddridge2, John C Marshall3 and Jean-Michel Campin4, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Cambridge, MA, United States, (3)MIT, Cambridge, MA, United States, (4)M.I.T./EAPS, Cambridge, United States
Observations of Ekman pumping, sea surface height anomaly, and isohaline depth anomaly over the Beaufort Gyre are used to explore the relative importance and role of (i) feedbacks between ice and ocean currents, dubbed the “Ice-Ocean governor” and (ii) mesoscale eddy processes in the equilibration of the Beaufort Gyre. A two-layer model of the gyre is fit to observations and used to explore the mechanisms governing the gyre evolution from the monthly to the decennial time scale. The Ice-Ocean governor dominates the response on inter-annual timescales, with eddy processes becoming evident on the longest, decadal timescales.