Shelf water and chlorophyll export from the Hatteras slope and outer shelf

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Churchill, James H.
Gawarkiewicz, Glen G.
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Shelf water export
Using high-resolution data acquired from a shipboard ADCP and a towed Scanfish equipped with a CTD and fluorometer, we examine the properties and transport of Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf water over a region of the Hatteras outer shelf and slope where MAB shelf water is commonly deflected offshore and entrained into the Gulf Stream. The data are from a period in early August 2004 when the seasonal pycnocline of the MAB is well developed and situated over a weakly stratified, near-bottom shelf water mass commonly referred to as the cold pool. Our data show chlorophyll-rich cold pool water carried rapidly southward over the slope and outer shelf, at a rate of up to 60 cm s−1, as part of the shelf-edge frontal jet. This southward transport of chlorophyll-rich cold pool water is shunted eastward and entrained into the Gulf Stream. However, the latitude band over which this export occurs varies significantly over the 7 day course of our study, a variation which is linked to an order 50 km shift in the latitude at which the Gulf Stream separates from the continental margin. The coupled rapid translation of the Gulf Stream frontal separation and the cold pool export zone is likely to have a significant impact on the movement and accumulation of biogenic material over the Hatteras slope and rise.
© The Author(s), 2014. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 119 (2014): 4291–4304, doi:10.1002/2014JC009809.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 119 (2014): 4291–4304
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