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Water Mass Properties Derived From Satellite Observations in the Barents Sea

Abstract : The Barents Sea is a region of deep water formation where Atlantic Water is converted into cooler, fresher Barents Sea Water. Barents Sea Water properties exhibit variability at seasonal, interannual, and decadal timescales. This variability is transferred to Arctic Intermediate Water, which eventually contributes to the deeper branch of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. Variations in Barents Sea Water properties are reflected in steric height (contribution of density to sea-level variations) that depends on heat and freshwater contents and is a quantity usually derived from in situ observations of water temperature, salinity, and pressure that remain sparse during winter in the Barents Sea. This analysis explores the utility of satellite observations for representing Barents Sea Water properties and identifying trends and sources of variability through novel methods. We present our methods for combining satellite observations of eustatic height (the contribution of mass to sea-level variations), sea surface height, and sea surface temperature, validated by in situ temperature and salinity profiles, to estimate steric height. We show that sea surface temperature is a good proxy for heat content in the upper part of the water column in the southeastern Barents Sea and that freshwater content can be reconstructed from satellite data. Our analysis indicates that most of the seasonality in Barents Sea Water properties arises from the balance between ocean heat transport and atmospheric heat flux, while its interannual variability is driven by heat and freshwater advection.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, June 1, 2022 - 9:08:05 AM
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Benjamin I. Barton, Camille Lique, yueng-Djern Lenn. Water Mass Properties Derived From Satellite Observations in the Barents Sea. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 2020, 125, ⟨10.1029/2019JC015449⟩. ⟨insu-03683233⟩

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