The ASBO Project
Arctic Synoptic Basin-wide Observations
Coupled climate models predict a rate of warming in the Arctic some two to three times higher than the global average. One consequence of this warming is a change in the Arctic freshwater storage and transport, both within the Arctic, and through gateways to the world’s oceans.
Models and palaeoceanographic data show that increased freshwater input from the Arctic to the North Atlantic can ‘distress’ the thermohaline circulation. A decrease in the North Atlantic overturning may lead to a cooling of Northern Europe, so the understanding of these changes is one of the highest priorities for UK and NERC science. However our understanding of the mechanisms by which the freshwater input to the Arctic is transformed, stored, and exported is currently based on fragmentary observations, and poorly constrained models. By combining the data gathered during the International Polar Year (IPY) with historical and satellite data, our programme will use state-of-the- art numerical models to provide new quantitative estimates of the storage and transport of fresh water in the Arctic both for the present, recent past and next century.