My research aim is to understand the processes controlling changes in Arctic freshwater content. The Arctic is changing rapidly, and hosts systems that are sensitive to change. Although it is a comparitively small ocean, it plays an important role in larger scale ocean circulation and climate dynamics. It is a globally important carbon sink and is home to a variety of ecosystems.
The majority of Arctic freshwater is stored in the Beaufort Gyre, which is built by Ekman convergence from anticyclonic winds and balanced by eddy fluxes. It is not currently well understood, however, on what timescales and with what magnitudes the Beaufort Gyre freshwater content responds to changes in atmospheric forcing, or how this links to export to the N Atlantic.
I am currently using a computationally efficient technique to interrogate variability in control runs of fully coupled climate models, and find out how the freshwater content would respond to persistent changes in different modes of atmospheric circulation. This is useful both for predicting future change and for providing an insight into the physical dynamics controlling the Beaufort Gyre and freshwater export system.