The Arctic Ocean Circulation Program (AOCP) is a component of Arctic Climate System Study (ACSYS) designed to investigate the feedback between changes in the upper Arctic Ocean and its ice cover and changes in the global heat balance.
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The AOCP consists of four components:
Arctic Ocean Hydrographic Survey - A program to collect a high quality hydrographic database representative of the Arctic Ocean with the goal of determining the general circulation and its transit times, and the rate of transformation of the different water masses.
Arctic Ocean Shelf Studies - A program aimed at understanding how the shelf processes partition salt and fresh water components, how the resulting buoyancy fluxes are coupled to the ocean interior, at defining the dynamics and thermodynamics of the shelf waters sufficiently to permit realistic modeling, and at determining the variability on the shelves and how that affects the interior ocean.
Arctic Ocean Variability Project - A program designed to assess the variability of the circulation and density structure of the Arctic Ocean including exchanges with the surrounding seas, to find the rates and variability of the processes important in maintaining present ocean conditions, and to provide a basis for further monitoring of climate change in the Arctic.
Arctic Ocean Climate Database Project - A project to establish a universally available digital hydrographic database for the Arctic Ocean for analysis of climate–related processes and variability, and to provide a dataset suitable for the initialization and verification of Arctic climate and circulation models.