A synthesis of the Arctic Ocean circulation
Moored current measurements in four different areas of the Arctic Ocean suggest that the principal large-scale advection occurs in narrow boundary currents along the margins of the major basins. These boundary flows are in a cyclonic sense in each basin and are therefore counter to much of the upper ocean drift suggested by the ice motion. In the interior of the Arctic Ocean (or at least in its Canadian Basin) the kinetic energy appears concentrated in the mesoscale eddy field, and there is evidence that this field is primarily generated along the Arctic Ocean margins. In addition, the Arctic Ocean has recently been found to sustain a large-scale thermohaline circulation driven by freezing along its periphery; this circulation appears to be at least comparable in magnitude to that of the Greenland Sea. If one also considers the major peripheral exchanges through the Fram Strait, the Barents Sea, the Canadian Archipelago, and the Bering Strait, then the image which emerges is of an Arctic Ocean which overwhelmingly is forced at its lateral boundaries, and in which much of the organized transport is trapped along these boundaries.