Substantial changes have occurred in the Arctic Ocean in the last decades. Not only sea ice has retreated significantly, but also the ocean at middepth showed a warming tendency. By using simulations we identified a mechanism that intensifies the upward trend in ocean heat supply to the Arctic Ocean through Fram Strait. The reduction in sea ice export through Fram Strait induced by Arctic sea ice decline increases the salinity in the Greenland Sea, which lowers the sea surface height and strengthens the cyclonic gyre circulation in the Nordic Seas. The Atlantic Water volume transport to the Nordic Seas and Arctic Ocean is consequently strengthened. This enhances the warming trend of the Arctic Atlantic Water layer, potentially contributing to the Arctic “Atlantification.” Our study suggests that the Nordic Seas can play the role of a switchyard to influence the heat budget of the Arctic Ocean.
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