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The Oceanography of Grønfjorden and Billefjorden (GrønBille)

The circulation of warm and saline Atlantic Water (AW) around the Svalbard archipelago is regarded as a critical factor for the Svalbard climate and cryosphere (Årthun et al., 2012). The West Spitsbergen Current (WSC), which is the northernmost extension of the global thermohaline circulation, transports the warm and saline AW northward (Walczowski

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Project date

Starts
2013-03-01

Ends
2015-12-30

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  • oceans / coastal processes / fjords
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Summary

The circulation of warm and saline Atlantic Water (AW) around the Svalbard archipelago is regarded as a critical factor for the Svalbard climate and cryosphere (Årthun et al., 2012). The West Spitsbergen Current (WSC), which is the northernmost extension of the global thermohaline circulation, transports the warm and saline AW northward (Walczowski et al. 2005, Schauer et al., 2008; Pavlov et al. 2012 in press). On its way around Svalbard, AW undergoes substantial cooling and subsequently releases most of its heat to the atmosphere. The heat fluxes between ocean and atmosphere, as well as the direct exchange of AW on the adjacent shelf are processes shaping the climate in this region. The amount of AW transported onto the shelf will have a large impact on sea ice conditions locally (Cottier et al. 2007; Nilsen et al., 2008; Tverberg and Nøst 2009; Pavlov et al., 2010; Pavlov et al., 2012 in press) and has implications for the exchange of key zooplankton components (Willis et al. 2006). Large-scale wind patterns can control the onshore/offshore transports through a variation of the AW core position over the continental slope (Cottier et al. 2006; Dmitrenko et al. 2006, , Pavlov et al. 2012 in press) Prime objective: • To analyse long-term data on variability, patterns and trends in the physical environment affecting the timing of blooms in Billefjorden and Grønnfjorden Secondary objectives: • Assemble data records of fjord and coastal measurements of physical and biological parameters extending over time periods to permit inter – annual to decadal assessment of change, including data from Billefjorden, Grønnfjorden and Isfjorden • Elucidate the underlying mechanisms for the temporal variability of continental slope-shelf-fjord exchange processes

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