Two configurations of the Western Arctic Shelfbreak Current in summer
MetadataShow full item record
Data from a closely spaced array of moorings situated across the Beaufort Sea shelfbreak at 152°W are used to study the Western Arctic Shelfbreak Current, with emphasis on its configuration during the summer season. Two dynamically distinct states of the current are revealed in the absence of wind, with each lasting approximately one month. The first is a surface-intensified shelfbreak jet transporting warm and buoyant Alaskan Coastal Water in late summer. This is the eastward continuation of the Alaskan Coastal Current. It is both baroclinically and barotropically unstable and hence capable of forming the surface-intensified warm-core eddies observed in the southern Beaufort Sea. The second configuration, present during early summer, is a bottom-intensified shelfbreak current advecting weakly stratified Chukchi Summer Water. It is baroclinically unstable and likely forms the middepth warm-core eddies present in the interior basin. The mesoscale instabilities extract energy from the mean flow such that the surface-intensified jet should spin down over an e-folding distance of 300 km beyond the array site, whereas the bottom-intensified configuration should decay within 150 km. This implies that Pacific Summer Water does not extend far into the Canadian Beaufort Sea as a well-defined shelfbreak current. In contrast, the Pacific Winter Water configuration of the shelfbreak jet is estimated to decay over a much greater distance of approximately 1400 km, implying that it should reach the first entrance to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 329-351, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-026.1.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Nikolopoulos, Anna; Pickart, Robert S.; Fratantoni, Paula S.; Shimada, Koji; Torres, Daniel J.; Jones, E. Peter (2008-01-16)From August 2002 to September 2004 a high-resolution mooring array was maintained across the western Arctic boundary current in the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska. The array consisted of profiling instrumentation, providing ...
Sutherland, David A.; Pickart, Robert S.; Jones, E. Peter; Azetsu-Scott, Kumiko; Eert, A. Jane; Olafsson, Jon (American Geophysical Union, 2009-05-27)The freshwater composition of waters on the southeast Greenland shelf and slope are described using a set of high-resolution transects occupied in summer 2004, which included hydrographic, velocity, nutrient, and chemical ...
Spall, Michael A.; Pickart, Robert S.; Fratantoni, Paula S.; Plueddemann, Albert J. (American Meteorological Society, 2008-08)The mean structure and time-dependent behavior of the shelfbreak jet along the southern Beaufort Sea, and its ability to transport properties into the basin interior via eddies are explored using high-resolution mooring ...