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© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 05 Jun 2020

Submitted as: research article | 05 Jun 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

The impact of atmospheric and oceanic circulations on the Greenland Sea iceconcentration

Sourav Chatterjee1,2, Roshin P. Raj3, Laurent Bertino3, Sebastian H. Merlind3, Nuncio Murukesh1, and Muthalagu Ravichandran1 Sourav Chatterjee et al.
  • 1National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, India
  • 2School of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Goa University, India
  • 3Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Bergen, Norway

Abstract. The amount and spatial extent of Greenland Sea (GS) sea ice are primarily driven by the sea ice export across the Fram Strait (FS) and by local seasonal sea ice formation, melting and sea ice dynamics. Maximum sea ice concentration (SIC) variability is found in the marginal ice zone and ‘Odden’ region in the central GS. In this study, using satellite passive microwave sea ice observations, atmospheric and a coupled ocean-sea ice reanalysis system we show that both the atmospheric and oceanic circulation in the GS act in tandem to explain the SIC variability in the GS. Anomalous low/high sea level pressure (SLP) over the Nordic Seas is found to strengthen/weaken the Greenland Sea Gyre (GSG) circulation. The large-scale atmospheric circulation pattern associated with this GSG variability features North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) like SLP pattern with its northern center of action shifted north-eastward from its canonical position. During anomalous low SLP periods, northerly wind anomalies reduce the sea ice export in the central GS due to westward Ekman drift of sea ice. This in turn decreases the freshwater content and weakens ocean stratification in the central GS. At the same time, the associated positive wind stress curl anomaly strengthens the GSG circulation which recirculates warm and saline Atlantic water (AW) into this region. Under a weakly stratified condition, the subsurface AW anomalies can reach the surface to inhibit new sea ice formation, further reducing the SIC in the central GS. Thus, this study highlights combined influence of atmospheric and oceanic circulation in the central GS SIC variability.

Sourav Chatterjee et al.

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Sourav Chatterjee et al.

Data sets

Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I-SSMIS Passive Microwave Data, Version 1. D. J. Cavalieri, C. L. Parkinson, P. Gloersen, and H. J. Zwally

Polar Pathfinder Daily 25 km EASE-Grid Sea Ice Motion Vectors, Version 4 M. Tschudi, W. N. Meier, J. S. Stewart, C. Fowler, and J. Maslanik

Sourav Chatterjee et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The study finds that sea ice in the Greenland Sea (GS), which is important for its climatic (freshwater), economical (shipping) and ecological contribution, is partly governed by the atmospheric and ocean circulation in the region. The mechanism proposed in this study can be useful for assessing the sea ice variability and its future projection in the GS. It also indicates that in a warmer climate the sea ice could be more confined to the Greenland coast, making the central GS ice free.
The study finds that sea ice in the Greenland Sea (GS), which is important for its climatic...