THEME 5

Arctic Ocean Margins and Gateways
There is a clear need to focus studies at the Arctic continental margins (slope) and major Arctic gateways since the Arctic Ocean is also an enclosed Mediterranean Sea, for a better understanding of the Arctic Ocean and its variability not only from a modern age perspective but also from a paleo history point of view. Arctic Ocean continental margins are the main avenues for boundary currents to transport heat, salt, fresh water, biogeochemical properties and sediments all around the Arctic Ocean. Today, they represent a very dynamic boundary for cross-slope shelf-basin interactions, playing a major role in the ventilation of the deep basins, transporting brines formed on the shelves to the abyssal plain, triggering resonant mechanisms between tides, bottom morphology and Coriolis forces, all having a strong impact on Arctic sea-ice pack.

The paleo approach should lead us to decipher from proxy data collected along the continental slope, the roles margins have played in the past under various extreme circumstances including Arctic Gateways closing and opening and to better understand the roles they play today. Are Brines the only way to ventilate the deep arctic basins during glacial ages and had the modern thermohaline circulation been shut down at any particular time for any particular reason in the past ? We invite the modern and paleo scientific communities to develop a 10 year Science Plan addressing critical and fundamental issues concerning Arctic continental margins and gateways and specifically oriented towards the understanding of the Pan Arctic natural variability at different time scales.