The link between the Barents Sea and ENSO events simulated by NEMO model 1Dept. of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
16 Nov 2012
*now at: the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, Reading, UK
Received: 25 April 2012 – Published in Ocean Sci. Discuss.: 25 May 2012 Abstract. An analysis of observational data in the Barents Sea along a meridian at
33°30' E between 70°30' and 72°30' N has reported a negative
correlation between El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
events and water temperature in the top 200 m: the temperature drops about
0.5 °C during warm ENSO events while during cold ENSO events the top
200 m layer of the Barents Sea is warmer.
Revised: 14 September 2012 – Accepted: 27 October 2012 – Published: 16 November 2012
Results from 1 and 1/4-degree global NEMO models show a similar
response for the whole Barents Sea. During the strong warm ENSO event in
1997–1998 an anomalous anticyclonic atmospheric circulation over the Barents
Sea enhances heat loses, as well as substantially influencing the Barents
Sea inflow from the North Atlantic, via changes in ocean currents. Under
normal conditions along the Scandinavian peninsula there is a warm current
entering the Barents Sea from the North Atlantic, however after the 1997–1998
event this current is weakened.
During 1997–1998 the model annual mean temperature in the Barents Sea is
decreased by about 0.8 °C, also resulting in a higher sea ice volume. In
contrast during the cold ENSO events in 1999–2000 and 2007–2008, the model
shows a lower sea ice volume, and higher annual mean temperatures in the
upper layer of the Barents Sea of about 0.7 °C.
An analysis of model data shows that the strength of the Atlantic inflow in
the Barents Sea is the main cause of heat content variability, and is forced
by changing pressure and winds in the North Atlantic. However, surface
heat-exchange with the atmosphere provides the means by which the Barents
sea heat budget relaxes to normal in the subsequent year after the ENSO
Citation: Stepanov, V. N., Zuo, H., and Haines, K.: The link between the Barents Sea and ENSO events simulated by NEMO model, Ocean Sci., 8, 971-982, doi:10.5194/os-8-971-2012, 2012.