Current measurements in the northeastern Barents Sea
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Original versionThis report is not to be cited without prior reference to the authors
The Institute of Marine Research (IMR) in cooperation with Knipowich Polar Reseach Institute of Marine Fisheries and Oceanography (PINRO), Murmansk, started in autumn 1991 a current measurement program in the strait between Novaya Zemlya and Frans Josef Land. The objectives of the project were: - to study water masses and the general circulation in the area - to estimate the outflow of dense bottom water from the Barents Sea - to obtain data for boundary conditions for numerical models. During late September and the beginning of October 1991, five moorings, with all together 20 current meters were deployed along one section across the strait. The moorings were recovered one year later. During the period of deployment and recovery, hydrographical investications were carried out along five sections in the area. In addition, some other hydrographic observations were carried out. The present paper describes the results from the hydrographic observations and the current measurements carried out from the end of September 1991 to early September 1992. The results confirm the assumption that this is the main outflow area of water masses from the Barents Sea. The results indicate a marked seasonal variability in the outflow, varying from 0.7 to 3.2 Sv, and with maximum during early winter. At some locations the current is extremely stable, and current stability above 90% is observed. The main driving force of the current is probably the density field. There is also an extremely good accordance between the variability in air pressure over the Barents Sea and the varibility in the current conditions. Low pressure seems to create a strong circulation in the Barents Sea, while high pressure periods seems to decrease the circulation.