Freshwater balance and the sources of deep and bottom waters in the Arctic Ocean inferred from the distribution of H218O

Dorothea Bauch, Peter Schlosser, Richard G. Fairbanks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

181 Scopus citations


Data from sections across the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean occupied in 1987 and 1991 are used to derive information on the freshwater balance of the Arctic Ocean and on sources of the deep waters of the Nansen, Amundsen and Makarov basins. Using salinity, H218O, and mass balances we estimate the river-runoff and the sea-ice melt water fractions contained in the upper waters of the Arctic Ocean and infer pathways of the river-runoff signal from the shelf seas across the central Arctic Ocean to Fram Strait. The average mean residence time of the river-runoff fraction contained in the Arctic Ocean halocline is determined to be about 11 to 14 years. Pacific water entering through Bering Strait is traced using silicate and its influence on the halocline waters of the Canadian Basin is estimated. Water column inventories of river-runoff and sea-ice melt water are calculated for a section just north of Fram Strait and implications of these inventories for sea-ice export through Fram Strait are discussed. Comparison of the 18O 16O ratios of shelf water, Atlantic water and the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean indicate that the sources of the deep and bottom waters of the Eurasian Basin are located in the Barents and Kara seas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-80
Number of pages28
JournalProgress in Oceanography
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Geology

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