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Modeling the Arctic Ocean - MITgcm on Ice

Temperature in the Arctic region has been rising at approximately twice the global average rate in the past 100 years (Solomon et al., Technical Summary, IPCC 2007). To understand the effect of warming on the Arctic sea ice and ocean circulation, An Nguyen and colleagues simulated a data-constrained coupled ocean and sea ice state estimate at high horizontal resolution. One area of great interest is the Chukchi Sea where the source of an important water mass, the Western Arctic upper halocline, is formed.

The upper halocline, a layer of high vertical salinity gradient and near-freezing temperature, resides at depths 50-200m and insulates the surface sea ice from the heat stored in the Atlantic Water at depths below 300m. Thus an understanding of its origin, ventilation, and variability can improve our understanding in the Arctic Ocean circulation and in the halocline's contribution to sea ice changes.

In this video interview, polar researcher An Nguyen presents the results of a recently published ocean and sea-ice modeling study of the Chukchi Sea she co-authored with researchers at JPL.

You can find out more about An Nguyen, this project, and the MIT General Circulation Model, or MITgcm, at http://mitgcm.org/2012/08/05/mitgcm-on-ice.

Video by Helen Hill

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Category: Science | Updated 4 days ago

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August 03, 2012 11:18
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