Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

On the dynamics of the near-surface currents in the Arctic Ocean

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Robin Johnson



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The Author(s)Starting from the Navier–Stokes equation (in rotating, spherical coordinates), and the equation of state coupled with the first law of thermodynamics for the atmosphere, a general description of the near-surface flow in the Arctic Ocean, and the atmosphere above it, is developed. This includes a suitable stress boundary condition at the air–ice–water interface. Invoking only the thin-shell approximation, for both the atmosphere and the ocean, an appropriate asymptotic reduction is developed; this approach ensures that all the physical attributes are retained at leading order. The wind is described via the properties of the Prandtl layer and the atmospheric boundary layer, with some observations about the geostrophic flow higher in the troposphere. The corresponding equations for the ocean, with a suitable surface wind, are used to model the two dominant features of the arctic surface-current field: the rotating Beaufort Gyre and, using a transformation of the spherical coordinates that removes the polar singularities in geographical coordinates, the Transpolar Drift. In addition, we show that the stress conditions at the ice–water interface ensure that the sea-ice necessarily moves faster than the ocean on which it floats, and in a direction between that of the surface wind and that of the ocean surface current.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Constantin A, Johnson RS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nonlinear Analysis: Real World Applications

Year: 2023

Volume: 73

Print publication date: 01/10/2023

Online publication date: 24/03/2023

Acceptance date: 17/03/2023

Date deposited: 11/04/2023

ISSN (print): 1468-1218

ISSN (electronic): 1878-5719

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.nonrwa.2023.103894


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Z 387-N