Moisture transport from the Arctic: a characterization from a Lagrangian perspective

M. Vázquez, R. Nieto, A. Drumond, L. Gimeno

Abstract


The Arctic Ocean has suffered extreme reductions in sea ice in recent decades, and these observed changes suggest implications in terms of moisture transport. The Arctic region is a net sink of moisture in terms of the total hydrological cycle, however, its role as a moisture source for specific regions has not been extensively studied. Our results show that 80% of the moisture supply from the Arctic contributes to precipitation over itself, representing about 8% of the global moisture supply to the Arctic, the remaining 20% is distributed in the surrounding. A reduction in the sea ice extent could make the Arctic Ocean a slightly higher source of moisture to itself or to the surrounding areas. The analysis of the areas affected by Arctic moisture transport is important for establishing those areas vulnerable to change in a framework of a growing sea ice decline. To this end, the Lagrangian model FLEXPART was used in this work to establish the main sinks for the Arctic Ocean, focusing on the moisture transport from this region. The results suggest that most of the moisture loss occurs locally over the Arctic Ocean itself, especially in summer. Some moisture contribution from the Arctic Ocean to continental areas in North America and Eurasia is also noted in autumn and winter especially from Central Arctic, the East Siberian Sea, the Laptev, Kara, Barents, East Greenland and Bering Seas, and the Sea of Okhotsk.

Keywords


Arctic sinks; moisture transport; Lagrangian model

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18172/cig.3477

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