Articles | Volume 7, issue 2
Ocean Sci., 7, 203–217, 2011
Ocean Sci., 7, 203–217, 2011

Research article 24 Mar 2011

Research article | 24 Mar 2011

The effect of tides on dense water formation in Arctic shelf seas

C. F. Postlethwaite1, M. A. Morales Maqueda1, V. le Fouest2,*, G. R. Tattersall1,**, J. Holt1, and A. J. Willmott1 C. F. Postlethwaite et al.
  • 1National Oceanography Centre, Joseph Proudman Building, 6 Brownlow Street, Liverpool, L3 5DA, UK
  • 2The Scottish Association for Marine Science, Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory, Oban, PA37 1QA, UK
  • *present address: Laboratoire d'Océanographie de Villefranche, BP 8 CNRS & l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), 06238 Villefranche-sur-Mer Cedex, France
  • **present address: Swathe Services, 1 Winstone Beacon, Saltash, Cornwall, PL12 4RU, UK

Abstract. Ocean tides are not explicitly included in many ocean general circulation models, which will therefore omit any interactions between tides and the cryosphere. We present model simulations of the wind and buoyancy driven circulation and tides of the Barents and Kara Seas, using a 25 km × 25 km 3-D ocean circulation model coupled to a dynamic and thermodynamic sea ice model. The modeled tidal amplitudes are compared with tide gauge data and sea ice extent is compared with satellite data. Including tides in the model is found to have little impact on overall sea ice extent but is found to delay freeze up and hasten the onset of melting in tidally active coastal regions. The impact that including tides in the model has on the salt budget is investigated and found to be regionally dependent. The vertically integrated salt budget is dominated by lateral advection. This increases significantly when tides are included in the model in the Pechora Sea and around Svalbard where tides are strong. Tides increase the salt flux from sea ice by 50% in the Pechora and White Seas but have little impact elsewhere. This study suggests that the interaction between ocean tides and sea ice should not be neglected when modeling the Arctic.