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Friday, January 28, 2011

Robert F. Spielhagen et al., Science (28 January 2011), Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water

Science 28 January 2011: 
Vol. 331 no. 6016 pp. 450-453 
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197397

Enhanced Modern Heat Transfer to the Arctic by Warm Atlantic Water

  1. Robert F. Spielhagen1,2,*
  2. Kirstin Werner2
  3. Steffen Aagaard Sørensen3
  4. Katarzyna Zamelczyk3
  5. Evguenia Kandiano2,
  6. Gereon Budeus4
  7. Katrine Husum3
  8. Thomas M. Marchitto5, and 
  9. Morten Hald3
+Author Affiliations
  1. 1Academy of Sciences, Humanities, and Literature, 53151 Mainz, Germany.
  2. 2Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), 24148 Kiel, Germany.
  3. 3Department of Geology, University of Tromsø, 9037 Tromsø, Norway.
  4. 4Alfred Wegener Institute of Polar and Marine Research, 27515 Bremerhaven, Germany.
  5. 5Department of Geological Sciences and Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA.
  1. *e-mail:


The Arctic is responding more rapidly to global warming than most other areas on our planet. Northward-flowing Atlantic Water is the major means of heat advection toward the Arctic and strongly affects the sea ice distribution. Records of its natural variability are critical for the understanding of feedback mechanisms and the future of the Arctic climate system, but continuous historical records reach back only ~150 years. Here, we present a multidecadal-scale record of ocean temperature variations during the past 2000 years, derived from marine sediments off Western Svalbard (79°N). We find that early–21st-century temperatures of Atlantic Water entering the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented over the past 2000 years and are presumably linked to the Arctic amplification of global warming.

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