A warm Jet in a cold ocean

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  • Jennifer MacKinnon
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla
  • Yueng-Djern Lenn
  • Harper L. Simmons
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • John Hargrove
    University of Miami
  • Jim Thomson
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Thomas Peacock
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Matthew H. Alford
    University of California, San Diego
  • Benjamin I. Barton
    National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool
  • Samuel Boury
    New York University
  • Samuel D. Brenner
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Nicole Couto
    University of California, San Diego
  • Seth L. Danielson
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Elizabeth C. Fine
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Hans C. Graber
    University of Miami
  • John Guthrie
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Joanne E. Hopkins
    National Oceanography Centre, Liverpool
  • Steven R. Jayne
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
  • Chanhyung Jeon
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Thilo Klenz
    University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Craig M. Lee
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Andrew J. Lucas
    University of California, San Diego
  • Bjorn Lund
    University of Miami
  • Claire Mahaffey
    University of Liverpool
  • Louisa Norman
    University of Liverpool
  • Luc Rainville
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Madison M. Smith
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Leif N. Thomas
    Stanford University
  • Sinhue Torres-Valdes
    Alfred Wegener Institute, Bremerhaven
  • Kevin R. Wood
    University of Washington, Seattle
Unprecedented quantities of heat are entering the Pacific sector of the Arctic Ocean through Bering Strait, particularly during summer months. Though some heat is lost to the atmosphere during autumn cooling, a significant fraction of the incoming warm, salty water subducts (dives beneath) below a cooler fresher layer of near-surface water, subsequently extending hundreds of kilometers into the Beaufort Gyre. Upward turbulent mixing of these sub-surface pockets of heat is likely accelerating sea ice melt in the region. This Pacific-origin water brings both heat and unique biogeochemical properties, contributing to a changing Arctic ecosystem. However, our ability to understand or forecast the role of this incoming water mass has been hampered by lack of understanding of the physical processes controlling subduction and evolution of this this warm water. Crucially, the processes seen here occur at small horizontal scales not resolved by regional forecast models or climate simulations; new parameterizations must be developed that accurately represent the physics. Here we present novel high resolution observations showing the detailed process of subduction and initial evolution of warm Pacific-origin water in the southern Beaufort Gyre.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2418
JournalNature Communications
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021

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