Physical Oceanography, Vol. 17, No. 5, 2007
ANALYSIS OF OBSERVATIONS AND METHODS FOR CALCULATING
HYDROPHYSICAL FIELDS IN THE OCEAN
CURRENTS AND TURBULENT DIFFUSION IN THE BOTTOM BOUNDARY
LAYER OF THE BARENTS SEA
V. M. Kushnir,
L. A. Petrenko,
V. K. Pavlov,
A. N. Morozov,
S. V. Stanichnyi,
and S. V. Fedorov
The numerical analysis of the stationary field of current velocity on the upper boundary of the
bottom boundary layer in the Barents Sea is performed on the basis of a simplified model taking
into account the fields of wind velocity and density of water for the principal periods of the sea-
sonal cycle and the bottom topography. The analysis is based on the climatic BarKode database
and the data on the wind velocity over the Barents Sea for the last
yr. The numerical results
demonstrate that the field of bottom currents is fairly nonuniform and the current velocities vary
from several fractions of
in the zones with noticeable slopes of the bottom.
The estimates of the thickness of the bottom boundary layer are obtained for the constant coeffi-
cient of bottom friction
= 0.04. In the major part of the water area of the Barents Sea, the
thickness of the bottom boundary layer is close to
m. In the regions with significant slopes of
the bottom, it increases to
and, in the two zones of intensification of the bottom cur-
rents, becomes as large as
m. The maximum estimate of the coefficient of turbulent viscosity
is close to
/sec. The mean value of the coefficient of vertical density diffusion
and its standard deviation is equal to
The investigation of bottom currents in the Barents Sea is of high scientific and practical importance. This
is explained by the following facts: The bottom currents and the corresponding bottom friction are the key fac-
tors of hydrodynamics of the shelf Barents Sea, the propagation of warm, salty, and denser North-Atlantic waters
in the Barents Sea is, to a large extent, realized by bottom currents, the bottom currents exert a significant influ-
ence on the formation and development of the benthos communities, the accumulation and transportation of bot-
tom sediments are mainly realized under the action of bottom currents, the data on bottom currents are required
for the development of the projects of utilization of mineral and raw material resources of the Barents Sea, and
various types of pollutions (including dangerous radioactive and industrial wastes) are buried at the bottom and
transported by the bottom currents over the entire basin.
The Barents Sea is an area of active economical, transport, and military activities for many years. The
enormous amounts of energy carriers discovered in this region are now in the stage of intense development exhi-
biting good prospects of significant subsequent intensification [1–3]. These regions are potentially dangerous
Marine Hydrophysical Institute, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Sevastopol.
Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsö, Norway.
Translated from Morskoi Gidrofizicheskii Zhurnal, No.
31–49, September–October, 2007. Original article submitted April 3,
2006; revision submitted April 25, 2006.
278 0928-5105/07/1705–0278 © 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.