Variability of Exchanges in the Northern Seas
Direct measurements of heat and mass transports through Fram Strait
Exchanges between the North Atlantic and the Arctic Ocean result in the most dramatic water mass conversions in the World Ocean: Warm and saline Atlantic waters flowing through the Nordic Seas into the Arctic Ocean are separated by cooling and freezing into shallow fresh waters (and ice) and saline deep waters. The outflow from the Northern Seas to the south provides the initial driving of the global thermohaline circulation cell, the one to the north is of major impact to the large scale circulation of the Arctic Ocean. Measuring these fluxes is a major requirement to quantify the turnover-rates within the large circulation cells of the Arctic and the Atlantic Oceans and a basic condition to understand the role of these ocean areas in climate variability on interannual to decadal scales. The overall objective of VEINS is to measure and to model the variability of fluxes between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean with a view on implementing a longer term system of critical measurements needed to understand the high-latitude oceans steering role in decadal climate variability. The major contribution of the AWI field work is to measure in the framework of the European Union MAST III project (contract MAS3-CT96-0070) in cooperation with the Norsk Polar Institutt, Tromsö and the Institut für Meereskunde of the University of Hamburg the transports through Fram Strait with moored instruments for a decadal time period. It is part of the AWI Research theme 1.1.2 Circulation and watermass modification in the Arctic Ocean.