A LONG-TERM OBSERVATORY (LTO) AT 

THE NORTH POLE

Knut Aagaard (UW), Dick Moritz (UW),
as part of the North Pole Environmental Observatory Programme
Polar Science Center, PMEL, NOAA, JAMSTEC, OSU

Corresponding author: Knut Aagaard (aagaard@apl.washington.edu)

OVERVIEW

Beginning in April 2001 we will maintain bottom-moored instruments that sample from the surface to great depths over the more than 4000 m deep abyssal plain at the North Pole.  Measurements include ice thickness and drift, water temperature and salinity, and current speed and direction.  We anticipate other automated measurements being added in subsequent years, including concentrations of nutrients and a variety of other tracers.

In establishing a moored time series station at the Pole, we have the following major objectives:
    - Provide a platform for community-wide Eulerian measurements in the interior Arctic Ocean
    - Determine the statistics of both the ice drift and the planetary boundary layer in the upper ocean
    - Measure the low-frequency variability of the velocity field of the mixed layer and halocline, including the annual cycle and its interannual variability
    - Quantify the vertical and temporal scales of variability in the temperature and salinity fields, especially in the halocline and the Atlantic layer where many of the dramatic changes of the past decade have occurred
    - Assess the impact in this region of large-scale changes in the circulation and properties of the Arctic Ocean
    - Use the new measurements to increase the dynamical understanding of the interior Arctic Ocean and to encourage improved modeling of this regime
    - Provide a long-term comparison base for earlier measurements in the region, including those incorporated into the EWG atlases
    - Measure Eulerian time series of sea ice draft and provide the quality-controlled, documented data sets to the arctic research community
    - Estimate the temporal variations of the sea ice thickness distribution, including its mean, modes, and open water fraction
    - In collaboration with other LTO participants, compare the observed variations in ice thickness with concurrent variations in the local ocean/atmosphere environment and with variations in the AO, NAO, and other indices of arctic change
    - Explore relationships between the observed variations in ice thickness in the central Arctic Ocean with ice and freshwater export through Fram Strait

We gratefully acknowledge financial support for this work from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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