Fratantoni Paula S.

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Paula S.

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  • Article
    Increasing frequency of mid‐depth salinity maximum intrusions in the Middle Atlantic Bight
    (American Geophysical Union, 2022-06-22) Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Bahr, Frank B. ; Ellertson, Aubrey
    Shelfbreak exchange processes have been studied extensively in the Middle Atlantic Bight. An important process occurring during stratified conditions is the Salinity Maximum Intrusion. These features are commonly observed at the depth of the seasonal pycnocline, and less frequently at the surface and bottom. Data collected from NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Ecosystem Monitoring program as well as data collected from the fishing industry in Rhode Island show that the middepth intrusions are now occurring much more frequently than was reported in a previous climatology of the intrusions (Lentz, 2003, The intrusions have a greater salinity difference from ambient water and penetrate large distances shoreward of the shelf break relative to the earlier climatology. The longer term data from the Ecosystem Monitoring program indicates that the increase in frequency occurred in 2000, and thus may be linked to a recent regime shift in the annual formation rate of Warm Core Rings by the Gulf Stream. Given the increased frequency of these salty intrusions, it will be necessary to properly resolve this process in numerical simulations in order to account for salt budgets for the continental shelf and slope.
  • Article
    Remote climate forcing of decadal-scale regime shifts in Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems
    (Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography, 2013-05) Greene, Charles H. ; Meyer-Gutbrod, Erin ; Monger, Bruce C. ; McGarry, Louise P. ; Pershing, Andrew J. ; Belkin, Igor M. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Mountain, David G. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Proshutinsky, Andrey ; Ji, Rubao ; Bisagni, James J. ; Hakkinen, Sirpa M. A. ; Haidvogel, Dale B. ; Wang, Jia ; Head, Erica ; Smith, Peter ; Reid, Philip C. ; Conversi, Alessandra
    Decadal-scale regime shifts in Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems can be remotely forced by climate-associated atmosphere–ocean interactions in the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean Basins. This remote climate forcing is mediated primarily by basin- and hemispheric-scale changes in ocean circulation. We review and synthesize results from process-oriented field studies and retrospective analyses of time-series data to document the linkages between climate, ocean circulation, and ecosystem dynamics. Bottom-up forcing associated with climate plays a prominent role in the dynamics of these ecosystems, comparable in importance to that of top-down forcing associated with commercial fishing. A broad perspective, one encompassing the effects of basin- and hemispheric-scale climate processes on marine ecosystems, will be critical to the sustainable management of marine living resources in the Northwest Atlantic.
  • Article
    Long-term SST variability on the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope
    (American Geophysical Union, 2020-01-06) Chen, Zhuomin ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Chen, Ke ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Joyce, Terrence M.
    The meridional coherence, connectivity, and regional inhomogeneity in long‐term sea surface temperature (SST) variability over the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope from 1982–2018 are investigated using observational data sets. A meridionally concurrent large SST warming trend is identified as the dominant signal over the length of the continental shelf and slope between Cape Hatteras in North Carolina and Cape Chidley, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The linear trends are 0.37 ± 0.06 and 0.39 ± 0.06 °C/decade for the shelf and slope regions, respectively. These meridionally averaged SST time series over the shelf and slope are consistent with each other and across multiple longer observational data sets with records dating back to 1900. The coherence between the long‐term meridionally averaged time series over the shelf and slope and basin‐wide averaged SST in the North Atlantic implies approximately two thirds of the warming trend during 1982–2018 may be attributed to natural climate variability and the rest to externally forced change including anthropogenic warming.
  • Article
    The changing nature of shelf-break exchange revealed by the OOI Pioneer Array
    (The Oceanography Society, 2018-02-09) Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Todd, Robert E. ; Zhang, Weifeng G. ; Partida, Jacob ; Gangopadhyay, Avijit ; Monim, Mahmud-Ul-Hasan ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Mercer, Anna Malek ; Dent, Margaret
    Although the continental shelf and slope south of New England have been the subject of recent studies that address decadal-scale warming and interannual variability of water mass properties, it is not well understood how these changes affect shelf-break exchange processes. In recent years, observations of anomalous shelf and slope conditions obtained from the Ocean Observatories Initiative Pioneer Array and other regional observing programs suggest that onshore intrusions of warm, salty waters are becoming more prevalent. Mean cross-shelf transects constructed from Pioneer Array glider observations collected from April 2014 through December 2016 indicate that slope waters have been warmer and saltier. We examine shelf-break exchange events and anomalous onshore intrusions of warm, salty water associated with warm core rings located near the shelf break in spring 2014 and winter 2017 using observations from the Pioneer Array and other sources. We also describe an additional cross-shelf intrusion of ring water in September 2014 to demonstrate that the occurrence of high-salinity waters extending across the continental shelf is rare. Observations from the Pioneer Array and other sources show warm core ring and Gulf Stream water masses intrude onto the continental shelf more frequently and penetrate further onshore than in previous decades.
  • Article
    Mixed layer depth climatology over the northeast US continental shelf (1993-2018)
    (Elsevier, 2021-11-17) Cai, Cassia ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Chen, Zhuomin ; Fratantoni, Paula S.
    The Northeast U.S. (NEUS) continental shelf has experienced rapid warming in recent decades. Over the NEUS continental shelf, the circulation and annual cycle of heating and cooling lead to local variability of water properties. The mixed layer depth (MLD) is a key factor that determines the amount of upper ocean warming. A detailed description of the MLD, particularly its seasonal cycle and spatial patterns, has not been developed for the NEUS continental shelf. We compute the MLD using an observational dataset from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center hydrographic monitoring program. The MLD exhibits clear seasonal cycles across five eco-regions on the NEUS continental shelf, with maxima in January–March and minima in July or August. The seasonal cycle is largest in the western Gulf of Maine (71.9 ± 24.4 m), and smallest in the southern Mid-Atlantic Bight (34.0 ± 7.3 m). Spatial variations are seasonally dependent, with greatest homogeneity in summer. Interannual variability dominates long-term linear trends in most regions and seasons. To evaluate the sensitivity of our results, we compare the MLDs calculated using a 0.03 kg/m3 density threshold with those using a 0.2 °C temperature threshold. Temperature-based MLDs are generally consistent with density-based MLDs, although a small number of temperature-based MLDs are biased deep compared to density-based MLDs particularly in spring and fall. Finally, we compare observational MLDs to the MLDs from a high-resolution ocean reanalysis GLORYS12V1. While the mean values of GLORYS12V1 MLDs compare well with the observed MLDs, their interannual variability are not highly correlated, particularly in summer. These results can be a starting point for future studies on the drivers of temporal and spatial MLD variability on the NEUS continental shelf.
  • Article
    Wind-induced interannual variability of sea level slope, along-shelf flow, and surface salinity on the Northwest Atlantic shelf
    (John Wiley & Sons, 2014-04-16) Li, Yun ; Ji, Rubao ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Chen, Changsheng ; Hare, Jonathan A. ; Davis, Cabell S. ; Beardsley, Robert C.
    In this study, we examine the importance of regional wind forcing in modulating advective processes and hydrographic properties along the Northwest Atlantic shelf, with a focus on the Nova Scotian Shelf (NSS)-Gulf of Maine (GoM) region. Long-term observational data of alongshore wind stress, sea level slope, and along-shelf flow are analyzed to quantify the relationship between wind forcing and hydrodynamic responses on interannual time scales. Additionally, a simplified momentum balance model is used to examine the underlying mechanisms. Our results show significant correlation among the observed interannual variability of sea level slope, along-shelf flow, and alongshore wind stress in the NSS-GoM region. A mechanism is suggested to elucidate the role of wind in modulating the sea level slope and along-shelf flow: stronger southwesterly (northeastward) winds tend to weaken the prevailing southwestward flow over the shelf, building sea level in the upstream Newfoundland Shelf region, whereas weaker southwesterly winds allow stronger southwestward flow to develop, raising sea level in the GoM region. The wind-induced flow variability can influence the transport of low-salinity water from the Gulf of St. Lawrence to the GoM, explaining interannual variations in surface salinity distributions within the region. Hence, our results offer a viable mechanism, besides the freshening of remote upstream sources, to explain interannual patterns of freshening in the GoM.
  • Preprint
    Freshwater export from the Labrador Current to the North Atlantic Current at the Tail of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland
    ( 2009-11) Fratantoni, Paula S. ; McCartney, Michael S.
    Historical hydrographic data, spanning the period 1896-2006, are used to examine the annual mean and seasonal variations in the distribution of freshwater along and across the shelf/slope boundary along the Labrador and Newfoundland Shelves and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Particular attention is paid to the export of freshwater along the eastern Grand Banks, between Flemish Cap and the Tail of the Grand Banks, as this has long been identified as a preferential region for the loss of mass and freshwater from the boundary. The data are combined into isopycnally averaged long-term annual and monthly mean gridded property fields and the evolving distribution of fresh arctic-origin water is analyzed in fields of salinity anomaly, expressed as departures from the “central water” temperature-salinity relation of the Gulf Stream. The climatology confirms that cold/fresh northern-source waters are advected offshore within the retroflecting Labrador Current along the full length of the boundary between Flemish Cap and the Tail of the Grand Banks. In fact, it is estimated that most of the equatorward baroclinic transport at the boundary must retroflect back toward the north in order to explain the annual mean distribution of salinity in the climatology. While the retroflection of the Labrador Current appears seasonally robust, the freshwater distribution within the retroflection region varies in response to (1) the freshness of the water available for export which is set by the arrival and rapid flushing of the seasonal freshwater pulse at the boundary, (2) seasonal buoyancy forcing at the surface which alters the vertical stratification across the retroflection region, restricting certain isopycnal export pathways, and (3) the density structure along the eastern Grand Banks, which defines the progressive retroflection of the Labrador Current.
  • Article
    Surface and bottom temperature and salinity climatology along the continental shelf off the Canadian and U.S. East Coasts
    (Elsevier, 2016-06-15) Richaud, Benjamin ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Lentz, Steven J.
    A new hydrographic climatology has been created for the continental shelf region, extending from the Labrador shelf to the Mid-Atlantic Bight. The 0.2-degree climatology combines all available observations of surface and bottom temperature and salinity collected between 1950 and 2010 along with the location, depth and date of these measurements. While climatological studies of surface and bottom temperature and salinity have been presented previously for various regions along the Canadian and U.S. shelves, studies also suggest that all these regions are part of one coherent system. This study focuses on the coherent structure of the mean seasonal cycle of surface and bottom temperature and salinity and its variation along the shelf and upper slope. The seasonal cycle of surface temperature is mainly driven by the surface heat flux and exhibits strong dependency on latitude (r≈−0.9). The amplitude of the seasonal cycle of bottom temperature is rather dependent on the depth, while the spatial distribution of bottom temperature is correlated with latitude. The seasonal cycle of surface salinity is influenced by several components, such as sea-ice on the northern shelves and river discharge in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. The bottom salinity exhibits no clear seasonal cycle, but its spatial distribution is highly correlated with bathymetry, thus Slope Water and its intrusion on the shelf can be identified by its relatively high salinity compared to shallow, fresher shelf water. Two different regimes can be identified, especially on the shelf, separated by the Laurentian Channel: advection influences the phasing of the seasonal cycle of surface salinity and bottom temperature to the north, while in the southern region, river runoff and air-sea heat flux forcing are dominant, especially over the shallower bathymetry.
  • Article
    The East Greenland Spill Jet
    (American Meteorological Society, 2005-06) Pickart, Robert S. ; Torres, Daniel J. ; Fratantoni, Paula S.
    High-resolution hydrographic and velocity measurements across the East Greenland shelf break south of Denmark Strait have revealed an intense, narrow current banked against the upper continental slope. This is believed to be the result of dense water cascading over the shelf edge and entraining ambient water. The current has been named the East Greenland Spill Jet. It resides beneath the East Greenland/Irminger Current and transports roughly 2 Sverdrups of water equatorward. Strong vertical mixing occurs during the spilling, although the entrainment farther downstream is minimal. A vorticity analysis reveals that the increase in cyclonic relative vorticity within the jet is partly balanced by tilting vorticity, resulting in a sharp front in potential vorticity reminiscent of the Gulf Stream. The other components of the Irminger Sea boundary current system are described, including a presentation of absolute transports.
  • Preprint
    The western Arctic boundary current at 152°W : structure, variability, and transport
    ( 2008-01-16) Nikolopoulos, Anna ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Shimada, Koji ; Torres, Daniel J. ; Jones, E. Peter
    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 a timeseries of vertical sections of the current. Here we present the first-year velocity measurements, with emphasis on the Pacific water component of the current. The mean flow is characterized as a bottom-intensified jet of O(15 cm s-1) directed to the east, trapped to the shelfbreak near 100 m depth. Its width scale is only 10-15 km. Seasonally the flow has distinct configurations. During summer it becomes surface-intensified as it advects buoyant Alaskan Coastal Water. In fall and winter the current often reverses (flows westward) under upwelling-favorable winds. Between the storms, as the eastward flow re-establishes, the current develops a deep extension to depths exceeding 700 m. In spring the bottom-trapped flow advects winter-transformed Pacific water emanating from the Chukchi Sea. The year-long mean volume transport of Pacific Water is 0.13±0.08 Sv to the east, which is less than 20% of the long-term mean Bering Strait inflow. This implies that most of the Pacific water entering the Arctic goes elsewhere, contrary to expected dynamics and previous modeling results. Possible reasons for this are discussed. The mean Atlantic water transport (to 800 m depth) is 0.047±0.026 Sv, also smaller than anticipated.
  • Article
    (American Meteorological Society, 2010-08) Spall, Michael A. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Plueddemann, Albert J.
    Corrigendum: Spall, M. A., R. S. Pickart, P. S. Fratantoni, and A. J. Plueddemann, 2008: Western Arctic shelfbreak eddies: Formation and transport. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 38, 1644–1668
  • Article
    Seasonal prediction of bottom temperature on the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf
    (American Geophysical Union, 2021-05-03) Chen, Zhuomin ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Chen, Ke ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Joyce, Terrence M. ; Miller, Timothy J. ; Nye, Janet A. ; Saba, Vincent S. ; Stock, Brian C.
    The Northeast U.S. shelf (NES) is an oceanographically dynamic marine ecosystem and supports some of the most valuable demersal fisheries in the world. A reliable prediction of NES environmental variables, particularly ocean bottom temperature, could lead to a significant improvement in demersal fisheries management. However, the current generation of climate model-based seasonal-to-interannual predictions exhibits limited prediction skill in this continental shelf environment. Here, we have developed a hierarchy of statistical seasonal predictions for NES bottom temperatures using an eddy-resolving ocean reanalysis data set. A simple, damped local persistence prediction model produces significant skill for lead times up to ∼5 months in the Mid-Atlantic Bight and up to ∼10 months in the Gulf of Maine, although the prediction skill varies notably by season. Considering temperature from a nearby or upstream (i.e., more poleward) region as an additional predictor generally improves prediction skill, presumably as a result of advective processes. Large-scale atmospheric and oceanic indices, such as Gulf Stream path indices (GSIs) and the North Atlantic Oscillation Index, are also tested as predictors for NES bottom temperatures. Only the GSI constructed from temperature observed at 200 m depth significantly improves the prediction skill relative to local persistence. However, the prediction skill from this GSI is not larger than that gained using models incorporating nearby or upstream shelf/slope temperatures. Based on these results, a simplified statistical model has been developed, which can be tailored to fisheries management for the NES.
  • Article
    The western North Atlantic shelfbreak current system in summer
    (American Meteorological Society, 2007-10) Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Pickart, Robert S.
    Twelve years of historical hydrographic data, spanning the period 1990–2001, are analyzed to examine the along-stream evolution of the western North Atlantic Ocean shelfbreak front and current, following its path between the west coast of Greenland and the Middle Atlantic Bight. Over 700 synoptic sections are used to construct a mean three-dimensional description of the summer shelfbreak front and to quantify the along-stream evolution in properties, including frontal strength and grounding position. Results show that there are actually two fronts in the northern part of the domain—a shallow front located near the shelf break and a deeper front centered in the core of Irminger Water over the upper slope. The properties of the deeper Irminger front erode gradually to the south, and the front disappears entirely near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. The shallow shelfbreak front is identifiable throughout the domain, and its properties exhibit large variations from north to south, with the largest changes occurring near the Tail of the Grand Banks. Despite these structural changes, and large variations in topography, the foot of the shelfbreak front remains within 20 km of the shelf break. The hydrographic sections are also used to examine the evolution of the baroclinic velocity field and its associated volume transport. The baroclinic velocity structure consists of a single velocity core that is stronger and penetrates deeper where the Irminger front is present. The baroclinic volume transport decreases by equal amounts at the southern end of the Labrador Shelf and at the Tail of the Grand Banks. Overall, the results suggest that the Grand Banks is a geographically critical location in the North Atlantic shelfbreak system.
  • Article
    Recent Arctic climate change and its remote forcing of Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems
    (The Oceanography Society, 2012-09) Greene, Charles H. ; Monger, Bruce C. ; McGarry, Louise P. ; Connelly, Matthew D. ; Schnepf, Neesha R. ; Pershing, Andrew J. ; Belkin, Igor M. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Mountain, David G. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Ji, Rubao ; Bisagni, James J. ; Chen, Changsheng ; Hakkinen, Sirpa M. A. ; Haidvogel, Dale B. ; Wang, Jia ; Head, Erica ; Smith, Peter ; Conversi, Alessandra
    During recent decades, historically unprecedented changes have been observed in the Arctic as climate warming has increased precipitation, river discharge, and glacial as well as sea-ice melting. Additionally, shifts in the Arctic's atmospheric pressure field have altered surface winds, ocean circulation, and freshwater storage in the Beaufort Gyre. These processes have resulted in variable patterns of freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean, including the emergence of great salinity anomalies propagating throughout the North Atlantic. Here, we link these variable patterns of freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean to the regime shifts observed in Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems. Specifically, we hypothesize that the corresponding salinity anomalies, both negative and positive, alter the timing and extent of water-column stratification, thereby impacting the production and seasonal cycles of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and higher-trophic-level consumers. Should this hypothesis hold up to critical evaluation, it has the potential to fundamentally alter our current understanding of the processes forcing the dynamics of Northwest Atlantic shelf ecosystems.
  • Article
    Upwelling on the continental slope of the Alaskan Beaufort Sea : storms, ice, and oceanographic response
    (American Geophysical Union, 2009-09-17) Pickart, Robert S. ; Moore, G. W. K. ; Torres, Daniel J. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Goldsmith, Roger A. ; Yang, Jiayan
    The characteristics of Pacific-born storms that cause upwelling along the Beaufort Sea continental slope, the oceanographic response, and the modulation of the response due to sea ice are investigated. In fall 2002 a mooring array located near 152°W measured 11 significant upwelling events that brought warm and salty Atlantic water to shallow depths. When comparing the storms that caused these events to other Aleutian lows that did not induce upwelling, interesting trends emerged. Upwelling occurred most frequently when storms were located in a region near the eastern end of the Aleutian Island Arc and Alaskan Peninsula. Not only were these storms deep but they generally had northward-tending trajectories. While the steering flow aloft aided this northward progression, the occurrence of lee cyclogenesis due to the orography of Alaska seems to play a role as well in expanding the meridional influence of the storms. In late fall and early winter both the intensity and frequency of the upwelling diminished significantly at the array site. It is argued that the reduction in amplitude was due to the onset of heavy pack ice, while the decreased frequency was due to two different upper-level atmospheric blocking patterns inhibiting the far field influence of the storms.
  • Technical Report
    Western Arctic Shelf-Basin Interactions Experiment : processing and calibration of moored profiler data from the Beaufort Shelf Edge mooring array
    (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 2006-12) Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Zimmermann, Sarah ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Swartz, Marshall
    A high-resolution mooring array was deployed at the edge of the continental shelf in the Beaufort Sea as a part of the western Arctic Shelf-Basin Interactions Program, a multidisciplinary experiment that was designed to study the communication between the continental shelf and interior basin. Eight moorings were positioned along a section crossing the shelfbreak and upper slope in two consecutive year-long deployments, spanning the period August 2002 through September 2004. Seven of the eight moorings housed conductivity/temperature/depth moored profilers that sampled 2-4 times per day, amassing close to 3000 profiles during the two-year study period. This report documents the collection, calibration, and quality control of this moored profiler data.
  • Article
    Seasonal-to-interannual prediction of North American coastal marine ecosystems: forecast methods, mechanisms of predictability, and priority developments
    (Elsevier, 2020-02-20) Jacox, Michael ; Alexander, Michael A. ; Siedlecki, Samantha A. ; Chen, Ke ; Kwon, Young-Oh ; Brodie, Stephanie ; Ortiz, Ivonne ; Tommasi, Desiree ; Widlansky, Matthew J. ; Barrie, Daniel ; Capotondi, Antonietta ; Cheng, Wei ; Di Lorenzo, Emanuele ; Edwards, Christopher ; Fiechter, Jerome ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Hazen, Elliott L. ; Hermann, Albert J. ; Kumar, Arun ; Miller, Arthur J. ; Pirhalla, Douglas ; Pozo Buil, Mercedes ; Ray, Sulagna ; Sheridan, Scott ; Subramanian, Aneesh C. ; Thompson, Philip ; Thorne, Lesley ; Annamalai, Hariharasubramanian ; Aydin, Kerim ; Bograd, Steven ; Griffis, Roger B. ; Kearney, Kelly ; Kim, Hyemi ; Mariotti, Annarita ; Merrifield, Mark ; Rykaczewski, Ryan R.
    Marine ecosystem forecasting is an area of active research and rapid development. Promise has been shown for skillful prediction of physical, biogeochemical, and ecological variables on a range of timescales, suggesting potential for forecasts to aid in the management of living marine resources and coastal communities. However, the mechanisms underlying forecast skill in marine ecosystems are often poorly understood, and many forecasts, especially for biological variables, rely on empirical statistical relationships developed from historical observations. Here, we review statistical and dynamical marine ecosystem forecasting methods and highlight examples of their application along U.S. coastlines for seasonal-to-interannual (1–24 month) prediction of properties ranging from coastal sea level to marine top predator distributions. We then describe known mechanisms governing marine ecosystem predictability and how they have been used in forecasts to date. These mechanisms include physical atmospheric and oceanic processes, biogeochemical and ecological responses to physical forcing, and intrinsic characteristics of species themselves. In reviewing the state of the knowledge on forecasting techniques and mechanisms underlying marine ecosystem predictability, we aim to facilitate forecast development and uptake by (i) identifying methods and processes that can be exploited for development of skillful regional forecasts, (ii) informing priorities for forecast development and verification, and (iii) improving understanding of conditional forecast skill (i.e., a priori knowledge of whether a forecast is likely to be skillful). While we focus primarily on coastal marine ecosystems surrounding North America (and the U.S. in particular), we detail forecast methods, physical and biological mechanisms, and priority developments that are globally relevant.
  • Article
    Characteristics of an advective Marine Heatwave in the Middle Atlantic Bight in early 2017
    (Frontiers Media, 2019-11-22) Gawarkiewicz, Glen G. ; Chen, Ke ; Forsyth, Jacob S. T. ; Bahr, Frank B. ; Mercer, Anna Malek ; Ellertson, Aubrey ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Seim, Harvey E. ; Haines, Sara ; Han, Lu
    There has been wide interest in Marine Heatwaves and their ecological consequences in recent years. Most analyses have focused on remotely sensed sea surface temperature data due to the temporal and spatial coverage it provides in order to establish the presence and duration of Heatwaves. Using hydrographic data from a variety of sources, we show that an advective Marine Heatwave was initiated by an event in late December of 2016 south of New England, with temperature anomalies measuring up to 6°C and salinity anomalies exceeding 1 PSU. Similar features were observed off of New Jersey in February 2017, and are associated with the Shelfbreak Front migrating from its normal position to mid-shelf or further onshore. Shelf water of 34 PSU was observed just north of Cape Hatteras at the 30 m isobath and across the continental shelf in late April 2017. These observations reveal that the 2017 Marine Heatwave was associated with a strong positive salinity anomaly, that its total duration was approximately 4 months, and its advective path extended roughly 850 km along the length of the continental shelf in the Middle Atlantic Bight. The southward advective velocity implied by the arrival north of Cape Hatteras is consistent with previous estimates of alongshelf velocity for the region. The origin of this Marine Heatwave is likely related to cross-shelf advection driven by the presence of a Warm Core Ring adjacent to the shelfbreak south of New England.
  • Article
    Increased gulf stream warm core ring formations contributes to an observed increase in salinity maximum intrusions on the Northeast Shelf
    (Nature Research, 2023-05-09) Silver, Adrienne ; Gangopadhyay, Avijit ; Gawarkiewicz, Glen ; Fratantoni, Paula ; Clark, Jenifer
    We present observational evidence of a significant increase in Salinity Maximum intrusions in the Northeast US Shelf waters in the years following 2000. This increase is subsequent to and influenced by a previously observed regime-shift in the annual formation rate for Gulf Stream Warm Core Rings, which are relatively more saline than the shelf waters. Specifically, mid-depth salinity maximum intrusions, a cross-shelf exchange process, has shown a quadrupling in frequency on the shelf after the year 2000. This increase in intrusion frequency can be linked to a similar increase in Warm Core Ring occupancy footprint along the offshore edge of the shelf-break which has greatly increased the abundance of warm salty water within the Slope Sea. The increased ring occupancy footprint along the shelf follows from the near doubling in annual Warm Core Ring formation rate from the Gulf Stream. The increased occurrence of intrusions is likely driven by a combination of a larger number of rings in the slope sea and the northward shift in the GS position which may lead to more interactions between rings and the shelf topography. These results have significant implications for interpreting temporal changes in the shelf ecosystem from the standpoint of both larval recruitment as well as habitability for various important commercial species.
  • Article
    Western Arctic shelfbreak eddies : formation and transport
    (American Meteorological Society, 2008-08) Spall, Michael A. ; Pickart, Robert S. ; Fratantoni, Paula S. ; Plueddemann, Albert J.
    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 data and an idealized numerical model. The analysis focuses on springtime, when weakly stratified winter-transformed Pacific water is being advected out of the Chukchi Sea. When winds are weak, the observed jet is bottom trapped with a low potential vorticity core and has maximum mean velocities of O(25 cm s−1) and an eastward transport of 0.42 Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1). Despite the absence of winds, the current is highly time dependent, with relative vorticity and twisting vorticity often important components of the Ertel potential vorticity. An idealized primitive equation model forced by dense, weakly stratified waters flowing off a shelf produces a mean middepth boundary current similar in structure to that observed at the mooring site. The model boundary current is also highly variable, and produces numerous strong, small anticyclonic eddies that transport the shelf water into the basin interior. Analysis of the energy conversion terms in both the mooring data and the numerical model indicates that the eddies are formed via baroclinic instability of the boundary current. The structure of the eddies in the basin interior compares well with observations from drifting ice platforms. The results suggest that eddies shed from the shelfbreak jet contribute significantly to the offshore flux of heat, salt, and other properties, and are likely important for the ventilation of the halocline in the western Arctic Ocean. Interaction with an anticyclonic basin-scale circulation, meant to represent the Beaufort gyre, enhances the offshore transport of shelf water and results in a loss of mass transport from the shelfbreak jet.