The Beaufort Gyre is a wind-driven ocean current located in the Arctic Ocean polar region. The gyre contains both ice and water. It accumulates fresh water by the process of melting the ice floating on the surface of the water.
The gyre has formed a dome of freshwater that has risen by about 15 centimetres (5.9 in) since 2002; by 2011 it has grown to about 8,000 cubic kilometres (1,900 cu mi) in volume. The freshwater represents about 10% of all freshwater in the Arctic; it comes mostly from Russian river runoff. The clockwise circulation of the beaufort gyre is induced by the clockwise circulating high pressure wind patterns over the Arctic ocean. In a clockwise rotating gyre, Coriolis bends water flow inward toward the centre and hence the bulge. If the wind patterns reverse due to rising air induced by the Arctic ocean becoming ice free and hence a giant solar collector, this will reverse the flow of the Beaufort gyre. Coriolis bends flow away from the centre of a counter clockwise rotating gyre and instead of a dome, a hollow should result and upwelling of deep, warmer Atlantic water.
Oceanographer Andrey Proshutinsky has theorized that if winds and the gyre are to weaken, high volumes of freshwater could leak out of the eastern side of the Arctic Ocean. The fresh water could leak into the Northern Atlantic Ocean, causing large impacts on ocean circulation and climate.
Due to ice, the Beaufort Gyre is difficult to access in the winter, and the shorter days make necessary the use of artificial light. Studies by Arthur S. Dyke and others show that if rivers increased discharges into the Beaufort Gyre, it might shift it to the right.
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The Beauford Gyre is a clockwise rotating system, flowing the same direction as the high pressure area over the Arctic which in turn is caused by falling dense air spreading southward with Coriolis turning the south flowing wind to the West. Lighter surface water piles up in the centre of the gyre due to Coriolis which sends surface water to the centre of the system. In so far as counter clockwise atmospheric systems such as the hurricane of Aug6, 2012 cause the rotation of surface water to reverse, this surface water will be "flung" outward and replaced by upwelling of the deep, saltier, warmer Atlantic water which underlies the fresher colder Arctic water. This mixing would be expected to lead to accelerated melting.
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