A Caltech Library Service

Enhanced eddy activity in the Beaufort Gyre in response to sea ice loss

Armitage, Thomas W. K. and Manucharyan, Georgy E. and Petty, Alek A. and Kwok, Ron and Thompson, Andrew F. (2020) Enhanced eddy activity in the Beaufort Gyre in response to sea ice loss. Nature Communications, 11 . Art. No. 761. ISSN 2041-1723. PMCID PMC7005044. doi:10.1038/s41467-020-14449-z.

[img] PDF - Published Version
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] PDF (Peer Review File) - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.

[img] MS Excel (Source Data) - Supplemental Material
Creative Commons Attribution.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The Beaufort Gyre freshwater content has increased since the 1990s, potentially stabilizing in recent years. The mechanisms proposed to explain the stabilization involve either mesoscale eddy activity that opposes Ekman pumping or the reduction of Ekman pumping due to reduced sea ice–ocean surface stress. However, the relative importance of these mechanisms is unclear. Here, we present observational estimates of the Beaufort Gyre mechanical energy budget and show that energy dissipation and freshwater content stabilization by eddies increased in the late-2000s. The loss of sea ice and acceleration of ocean currents after 2007 resulted in enhanced mechanical energy input but without corresponding increases in potential energy storage. To balance the energy surplus, eddy dissipation and its role in gyre stabilization must have increased after 2007. Our results imply that declining Arctic sea ice will lead to an increasingly energetic Beaufort Gyre with eddies playing a greater role in its stabilization.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Armitage, Thomas W. K.0000-0003-1442-7833
Manucharyan, Georgy E.0000-0001-7959-2675
Thompson, Andrew F.0000-0003-0322-4811
Additional Information:This is a U.S. government work and not under copyright protection in the U.S.; foreign copyright protection may apply 2020. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit Received 05 June 2018; Accepted 18 December 2019; Published 06 February 2020. Thanks to G. Meneghello and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive feedback during the review process. T.A. and R.K. carried out this research at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. G.M. and A.T. gratefully acknowledge the support of the Stanback Postdoctoral Fellowship Fund and the Davidow Discovery Fund at Caltech. A.P. carried out this work at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Maryland supported by NASA. The paper benefitted from discussions at the annual Forum for Arctic Modelling and Observing Synthesis (FAMOS) funded by the NSF OPP awards PLR-1313614 and PLR-1203720. Author Contributions: T.A., G.M. and A.P. formulated the study and led the analysis. A.T. assisted in refining the mathematical framework and interpreting the results. R.K. assisted in interpretation of the satellite data. T.A. and G.M. led the paper writing with significant input from the other authors. The authors declare no competing interests.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Coco and Foster Stanback Postdoctoral Fellowship in Global Environmental ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Davidow Discovery FundUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Cryospheric science; Physical oceanography
PubMed Central ID:PMC7005044
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200212-104403401
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Armitage, T.W.K., Manucharyan, G.E., Petty, A.A. et al. Enhanced eddy activity in the Beaufort Gyre in response to sea ice loss. Nat Commun 11, 761 (2020).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:101240
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:12 Feb 2020 19:47
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:00

Repository Staff Only: item control page