Wind-induced, cross-frontal exchange on Georges Bank : a mechanism for early summer on-bank biological particle transport
Schlitz, Ronald J.
Lough, R. Gregory
Smith, Keston W.
Beardsley, Robert C.
Manning, James P.
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Water exchange across the tidal-mixing front on the southern flank of Georges Bank (GB) is examined using a two-dimensional (2D) primitive equation ocean model. The model domain features a cross-frontal transect including a June 1999 hydrographic (CTD)/ADCP study made as part of the U.S. GLOBEC Northwest Atlantic/Georges Bank program. The model was initialized with temperature and salinity fields taken on the 15 June 1999 CTD section and run prognostically with tidal forcing, measured winds, and representative surface heat flux. The results show that fluctuations of wind plus tidal mixing can play the following essential role in the short-term transport of water and particles from the stratified region to the mixed region on GB in early summer, when stratification is just developing with a weak thermocline at a depth of about 10 m. First, a passing weather front drives a wind-induced on-bank Ekman transport of the upper part of the water column at the tidal-mixing front and associated particles in the surface mixed layer. Then, when the wind relaxes or changes direction, the water in the on-bank extension of the front (above the thermocline) mixes quickly through enhanced tidal motion in shallower depths of water. As a result, particles that are advected along the extended front stay in the previously well-mixed region of the bank. Surface heating tends to increase the strength of the thermocline and reduce the thickness of the surface mixed layer. This in turn accelerates the on-bank movement of the front under an easterly wind favorable for Ekman transport and thus enhances the on-bank, cross-frontal transport of particles. Since the wind-induced, cross-frontal on-bank transport of water can occur episodically during passages of meteorological fronts, these could produce a larger net cross-frontal flux than that produced by just tidal forcing on equivalent timescales. Therefore wind-induced processes can be important in the on-bank cross-frontal flux of copepods and other zooplankton species that exhibit shallow maxima in their vertical distributions over the southern flank of GB in early summer.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2003. 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 108, C11 (2003): 8011, doi:10.1029/2002JC001358.
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