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PhD project title:
Sea level in the Arctic Ocean and changes in the atmosphere-sea ice-ocean interaction
Over the past decade we have seen a significant increase in the sea level of the western Arctic Ocean. This has been associated with wind-driven convergence of surface waters in the Beaufort Gyre and subsequent downwelling (Ekman pumping). It is estimated that over this period an additional 8000 cubic kilometres of fresh water has been stored in the Beaufort Gyre. Results indicate that changes in the wind field over the western Arctic can only explain part of this story. The observed rapid increase in sea level is evidence that the coupling between the atmosphere and ocean has also altered. Given the well-publicised diminishing of the Arctic sea ice cover, changes in the interaction between the atmosphere and ocean are perfectly conceivable. This project will use techniques developed at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling to measure the sea level in the Arctic Ocean on a monthly basis with nearly full-basin coverage. An investigation of the changes in the atmosphere-sea ice-ocean system will be undertaken to attempt to understand more fully the response of the Arctic Ocean to a diminishing sea ice cover.