If we can realistically simulate the past and present processes at work in the Fram Strait, we can then calculate projections for the future.
I work with FESOM, the Finite Element Sea ice-Ocean Model, which is used on diverse time scales, from paleoclimate simulations to future projections. The model was developed in the AWI’s Climate Dynamics section, where it is constantly being refined. Unlike traditional ocean models, which are based on structured grids, FESOM uses triangle-based unstructured grids to simulate ocean currents, hydrography and sea ice. I’m currently using FESOM to simulate the circulation in the Fram Strait, which is located between Greenland and Svalbard and represents one of the most important connections between the Arctic Ocean and the North Atlantic. In the past few years, we’ve seen a major decline in Arctic sea ice in the region. In addition, more warm and salty water is being transported from the Atlantic to the Arctic. Modelling helps us to better understand the underlying processes and the exchange of water masses that takes place in this important waterway.
Personally, I find FESOM fascinating, because its unstructured grid function is extremely flexible; it helps us simulate vital regions like narrow straits in high resolution, while also putting our computer resources to optimal use.