Atlantic Water Inflow Through the Yermak Pass Branch: Evolution Since 2007
The Atlantic Water flowing through the Fram Strait via the West Spitsbergen Current is the main source of heat and salt for the Arctic Ocean. At the entrance to the Arctic, the West Spitsbergen Current splits into several branches as it meets the Yermak Plateau. Thirty-four months of observations were recently obtained in the main branch of Atlantic Water inflow to the Arctic, the Yermak
Pass Branch. This location used to be ice covered year round. Our results show that the exceptional ice-free conditions in year 2018 were associated with a highly variable flow. An oceanic model, in good agreement with the observations, showed that the Atlantic Water transport through the Yermak Pass Branch was more irregular from 2016 onward. Changes in the Atlantic Water inflow pathways have important implications for the heat, salt, and nutrients reaching the Arctic.