AbstractPossible modifications to ocean temperature in the Barents Sea induced by climate change are explored. The simulations were performed with a coupled ice–ocean model (CIOM) driven by the surface fields from the Canadian Regional Climate Model (CRCM) simulations. CIOM can capture the observed water volume inflow through the Barents Sea Opening. The CIOM simulation and observations suggest an increase in the Atlantic water volume inflow and heat transport into the Barents Sea in recent decades resulting from enhanced storm activity. While seasonal variations of sea ice and sea surface temperature in CIOM simulations are comparable with observations, CIOM results underestimate the sea surface temperature but overestimate ice cover in the Barents Sea, consistent with an underestimated heat transport through the Barents Sea Opening. Under the SRES A1B scenario, the loss of sea ice significantly increases the surface solar radiation and the ocean surface heat loss through turbulent heat fluxes and longwave radiation. Meanwhile, the lateral heat transport into the Barents Sea tends to increase. Thus, changes in ocean temperature depend on the heat balance of solar radiation, surface turbulent heat flux, and lateral heat transport. During the 130-yr simulation period (1970–2099), the average ocean temperature increases from 0° to 1°C in the southern Barents Sea, mostly due to increased lateral heat transport and solar radiation. In the northern Barents Sea, ocean temperature decreases by 0.4°C from the 2010s to the 2040s and no significant trend can be seen thereafter, when the surface heat flux is balanced by solar radiation and lateral heat transport and there is no notable net heat flux change.
Journal of Climate – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 3, 2017
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