Atmospheric and offshore forcing of temperature variability at the shelf break
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Knowledge of heat balance and associated temperature variability in the Northwest Atlantic coastal ocean is important for understanding impacts of climate change such as how ocean warming will affect the management of fisheries. Heat balances are particularly complicated near the edge of the continental shelf, where the cross-shelf temperature gradients within the shelf-break front complicate the competing influences of air-sea flux anomalies versus ocean advection. We review the atmospheric and oceanic processes associated with heat balance over the Northwest Atlantic continental shelf and slope, with an emphasis on the scale-dependent nature of the heat balance. We then use data from the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Pioneer Array to demonstrate heat balance scale dependence at the southern New England shelf break, and the capability of the array to capture multiscale ocean processes. Comparison of the cumulative effects of air-sea heat fluxes measured at the OOI Pioneer Array from May 2015 to April 2016 with the actual temperature change shows the importance of advective processes in overall heat balance near the shelf break.
Author Posting. © The Oceanography Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of The Oceanography Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Oceanography 31, no. 1 (2018): 72–79, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2018.112.