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Dataset

Background

Atlantic Water flows into the Arctic in two branches near Svalbard. One branch follows the outer perimeter of the Yermak Plateau north-west of Svalbard and then turns eastward, flowing as a wide, slow and semi-deep current along the outer, deep part of the continental slope. The other branch is warmer, faster and is found near the surface, following the upper part of the slope north of Svalbard. This large current system carries an enormous amount of heat and salt into the region – of similar magnitude as the Barents Sea Branch but with higher temperature when it enters the Arctic Ocean proper. It also brings a continuous supply of nutrients for primary production (phytoplankton growth) and transports living organisms of lower-latitude Atlantic origin into the area.

Project goals

The primary objective of this project, funded by the Fram Centre “Arctic Ocean” flagship, is to understand how heat from the Atlantic Water influences the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover, but also to provide data for understanding the playing field for some of the key actors in the ecosystem, and components of the carbon system. A-TWAIN (Long-term variability and trends in the Atlantic Water inflow region) was established to gain understanding on how the inflowing current system is distributed at different depths along the continental slope, how it responds to local, short lived atmospheric changes, and how it varies on seasonal and inter-annual timescales.

a ship with people on board

Foto: Amy Cooper / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Project history

The primary objective of this project, funded by the Fram Centre “Arctic Ocean” flagship, is to understand how heat from the Atlantic Water influences the Arctic Ocean sea ice cover, but also to provide data for understanding the playing field for some of the key actors in the ecosystem, and components of the carbon system. A-TWAIN (Long-term variability and trends in the Atlantic Water inflow region) was established to gain understanding on how the inflowing current system is distributed at different depths along the continental slope, how it responds to local, short lived atmospheric changes, and how it varies on seasonal and inter-annual timescales.

A woman on a ship working on scientific equipment

Foto: Amy Cooper / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

A-Twain team