Heat Flux

The Atlantic layer contains an enormous amount of heat, enough to melt 20 m of ice (Aagaard and Coachman, 1975). As it progresses around the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic water becomes colder and fresher, partly because of heat loss to the overlying halocline and Arctic surface water, partly because of mixing with colder, fresher shelf waters, and partly because of the Atlantic water entrainment into sinking density flows of cold shelf water (Rudels et al., 1994). The Atlantic layer heat content decreases as Atlantic water moves around the Arctic Basin, from 125 kcal cm-2 north of Svalbard down to 12 kcal cm-2 in the northern Canada Basin (Treshnikov, 1977). The upward heat flux from the Atlantic layer toward the sea surface is important in the heat balance of the sea ice cover.

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