The salinity: delta O-18 water relationship in Kongsfjorden, western Spitsbergen

Suzanne E. MacLachlan, Finlo R. Cottier, William E. N. Austin, John A. Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first oxygen isotope measurements from Kongsfjorden in north-west Spitsbergen, and use the isotopic composition and hydrographic data to provide a detailed assessment of the mixing between freshwater and oceanic waters. Temperature, salinity(s) and oxygen isotope profiles are used to describe the seasonal evolution of hydrography in the inner part of the fjord, and to infer the dominant mixing and exchange processes. Data from atmospheric, glacial and marine sources throughout Kongsfjorden are used to construct a salinity: delta O-18 mixing line in a region that receives inputs of freshwater and marine Atlantic water. The dominant source of freshwater is glacial melt from a tidewater glacier complex at the head of the fjord, resulting in a seawater salinity: delta O-18 relationship where delta O-18= 0.43S - 14.65. The Kongsfjorden data provides a northern latitudinal limit for mixing lines in the northwestern European coastal system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalPolar Research
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • oxygen isotopes
  • mixing line
  • Arctic
  • fjord
  • glacial
  • hydrography
  • DEEP


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