Water mass changes in the Arctic Ocean:
The Arctic Ocean plays a role for the world climate because of the sea ice influence on the radiation budget, because of the water mass formation associated with the freezing and because of the redistribution of the large fresh water input. It receives warm inflow from both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean from where it also gets fresh surface water. Furthermore, it receives about 11% of the global river runoff.
The distribution of this huge amount of fresh water and its flow across the broad shelves through the central Arctic Ocean and through the passages to the North Atlantic determines static stability in the Arctic and subarctic oceans. Besides the sea ice reduction, major changes in the past decades led to considerable warming of intermediate layers and to a significant accumulation of fresh water in the upper layers which is balanced by less fresh water release to the North Atlantic.