Horizontal scales of variability over the Middle Atlantic Bight shelf break and continental rise from finescale observations
Todd, Robert E.
Gawarkiewicz, Glen G.
Owens, W. Brechner
MetadataShow full item record
KeywordContinental shelf/slope; North Atlantic Ocean; Fronts; In situ oceanic observations; Profilers, oceanic
Observations with fine horizontal resolution are used to identify the horizontal scales of variability over the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf break and continental rise. Spray gliders collected observations along two alongshelf transects over the continental rise in March–April 2006 and along 16 cross-shelf transects over the shelf break and continental rise during July–October 2007. Horizontal resolution varied from 1 km or finer over the shelf to 6 km in deep water. These observations allow horizontal thermohaline variability offshore of the MAB shelf break to be examined for the first time. Structure functions of temperature and salinity, the mean square difference between observations separated by specified distances, reveal the horizontal spatial scales in the region. Exponential (e-folding) scales of temperature and salinity increase from 8–13 km near the shelf break to about 30 km over the continental rise. Just offshore of the shelf break, alongshelf structure functions exhibit periodicity with a 40–50-km wavelength that matches the wavelength of shelfbreak frontal meanders. Farther offshore, alongshelf structure functions suggest a dominant wavelength of 175–250 km, but these scales are only marginally resolved by the available observations. Examination of structure functions of along-isopycnal salinity (i.e., spice) suggests that interleaving of shelf and slope water masses contributes most of the horizontal variability near the MAB shelf break, but heaving of isopycnals is the primary source of horizontal variability over the continental rise.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 222–230, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-099.1.
Suggested CitationJournal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 222–230
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Lentz, Steven J. (American Meteorological Society, 2008-06)Analyses of current time series longer than 200 days from 33 sites over the Middle Atlantic Bight continental shelf reveal a consistent mean circulation pattern. The mean depth-averaged flow is equatorward, alongshelf, and ...
Fewings, Melanie R.; Lentz, Steven J.; Fredericks, Janet J. (American Meteorological Society, 2008-11)Six-yr-long time series of winds, waves, and water velocity from a cabled coastal observatory in 12 m of water reveal the separate dependence of the cross-shelf velocity profile on cross-shelf and along-shelf winds, waves, ...
Kirincich, Anthony R. (American Meteorological Society, 2013-12)In situ observations of turbulent momentum flux, or Reynolds stresses, were estimated from a 10-yr acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) record of inner-shelf velocities at the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory ...