Heat and salt balances over the New England continental shelf, August 1996 to June 1997

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Lentz, Steven J.
Shearman, R. Kipp
Plueddemann, Albert J.
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Heat balance
Salt balance
Continental shelf
Heat and salt balances over the New England shelf are examined using 10 month time series of currents, temperature, and salinity from a four element moored array and surface heat and freshwater fluxes from a meteorological buoy. A principal result is closure of the heat budget to 10 W m−2. The seasonal variation in depth-average temperature, from 14°C in September to 5°C in March, was primarily due to the seasonal variation in surface heat flux and a heat loss in winter caused by along-shelf advection of colder water from the northeast. Conductivity sensor drifts precluded closing the salt balance on time scales of months or longer. For time scales of days to weeks, depth-average temperature and salinity variability were primarily due to advection. Advective heat and salt flux divergences were strongest and most complex in winter, when there were large cross-shelf temperature and salinity gradients at the site due to the shelf-slope front that separates cooler, fresher shelf water from warmer, saltier slope water. Onshore flow of warm, salty slope water near the bottom and offshore flow of cooler, fresher shelf water due to persistent eastward (upwelling-favorable) winds caused a temperature increase of nearly 3°C and a salinity increase of 0.8 in winter. Along-shelf barotropic tidal currents caused a temperature decrease of 1.5°C and a salinity decrease of 0.7. Wave-driven Stokes drift caused a temperature increase of 0.5°C and a salinity increase of 0.4 from mid December to January when there were large waves and large near-surface cross-shelf temperature and salinity gradients.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 115 (2010): C07017, doi:10.1029/2009JC006073.
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Journal of Geophysical Research 115 (2010): C07017
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