Title

Optical properties of the Kara Sea

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-15-2000

Department

Marine Science

Abstract

This study was motivated by the need to understand dispersion processes which affect the redistribution of nuclear wastes in the Arctic from dump sites in the Kara Sea and in the rivers which flow into the Kara Sea. We focus on vertical profiles of light beam transmission and fluorometry made over the delta region fronting the Ob and Yenisey Rivers and over the East Novaya Zemlya Trough (ENZT). The delta region fronting the Ob River Estuary contains a large repository of particles in a dense bottom nepheloid layer with a maximum centered similar to 100 km in front of the estuary entrance and covering an area of roughly 200 km diameter. This suspended particle mass repository appears to contain both sediments and detritus and lends credence to the Lisitsyn [1995] concept of the marginal filter zone. In the deep water of the ENZT we found a strong increase of beam attenuation with depth, indicating a relatively large increase of particle mass concentration from similar to 50 m to the bottom (depths in excess of 300 m). The strongest concentration was adjacent to the southeast coast of Novaya Zemlya. We suggest that a type of hyperpycnical flow occurs from accumulation of sediments in the bottom waters of Novaya Zemlya fjords which then cascades down the steep slopes adjacent to the island, producing the particle mass distribution as observed by the transmissometer. The accumulation of these repositories of high particle mass concentrations in suspension would suggest that the residence time is high but that storm-driven events could act to disperse the material.

Publication Title

JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS

Volume

105

Issue

C4

First Page

8805

Last Page

8811

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