Simulation of the mixed-layer circulation in the Arctic Ocean

David M. Holland, Lawrence A. Mysak, Josef M. Oberhuber

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A numerical simulation of the mixed-layer circulation of the Arctic Ocean is presented using Oberhuber's [1993a] coupled sea ice-mixed layer-isopycnal ocean general circulation model. The model domain includes the Arctic Ocean and the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian (GIN) Sea. The horizontal resolution is 2°. The vertical is resolved using five isopycnal layers, of which the uppermost layer is a turbulent mixed layer. The sea ice is modeled using a thermodynamic-dynamic model which includes a viscous-plastic rheology. Monthly climatological atmospheric forcing is used to spin up the model into a cyclostationary equilibrium. Model results are presented and discussed with respect to observational and previous modeling studies. The mixed layer shows a circulation pattern similar to that inferred from indirect observations and other modeling studies. In an attempt to determine the main driving mechanism for the mixed-layer circulation as produced by the Oberhuber model, a set of sensitivity experiments is carried out. In particular, the relative importance of (1) ice cover, (2) atmospheric winds, (3) surface freshwater fluxes, and (4) initialization with Levitus [1982] data is examined to determine the contribution each makes to the modeled circulation. The key conclusion is that buoyancy forcing is critical to maintaining the mixed-layer circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number95JC02819
Pages (from-to)1111-1128
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue numberC1
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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