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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-247
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2018-247
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 15 Jan 2019

Research article | 15 Jan 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal The Cryosphere (TC).

Arctic freshwater fluxes: sources, tracer budgets and inconsistencies

Alexander Forryan1, Sheldon Bacon2, Takamasa Tsubouchi3, Sinhué Torres-Valdés4, and Alberto C. Naveira Garabato1 Alexander Forryan et al.
  • 1Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  • 2National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK
  • 3Geophysical Institute, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  • 4Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany

Abstract. The traditionally divergent perspectives of the Arctic Ocean freshwater budget provided by control volume-based and geochemical tracer-based approaches are reconciled, and the sources of inter-approach inconsistencies identified, by comparing both methodologies using an observational data set of the circulation and water mass properties at the basin's boundary in summer 2005. The control volume-based and geochemical estimates of the Arctic Ocean (liquid) freshwater fluxes are 147 ± 42 mSv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1) and 140 ± 67 mSv, respectively, and are thus in agreement. Examination of meteoric, sea ice and seawater contributions to the freshwater fluxes reveals near equivalence of the net freshwater flux out of the Arctic and the meteoric source to the basin, and a close balance between the transport of solid sea ice and ice-derived meltwater out of the Arctic and the freshwater deficit in the seawater from which the sea ice has been frozen out. Inconsistencies between the two approaches are shown to stem from the distinction between "Atlantic" and "Pacific" waters based on tracers in geochemical tracer-based calculations. The definition of Pacific waters is found to be particularly problematic, because of the non-conservative nature of the inorganic nutrients underpinning that definition, as well as the low salinity characterising waters entering the Arctic through Bering Strait - which makes them difficult to isolate from meteoric sources.

Alexander Forryan et al.
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Alexander Forryan et al.
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Short summary
We compare contol-volume and geochemical tracer-based methods of estimating the Arctic Ocean freshwater budget and find both methods in good agreement. Inconsistencies arise from the distinction between "Atlantic" and "Pacific" waters in the geochemical calculations. The definition of Pacific waters is particularly problematic, due to the non-conservative nature of the nutrients underpinning the definition and the low salinity characterising waters entering the Arctic through Bering Strait.
We compare contol-volume and geochemical tracer-based methods of estimating the Arctic Ocean...
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