Dynamics of the Northwest Australian Shelf and Slope
Final rept. 1 Jun 2002-31 May 2007
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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We seek to understand shelf and shelf-edge phenomena associated with regional-scale currents, buoyancy forcing, wind forcing and mesoscale variability. We thus carried out a set of highly resolved physical oceanographic measurements off the northwestern coast of Australia during June-July, 2003. Among other sampling approaches, our primary sampling tool was the SeaSoar towed undulating platform which allows rapid, highly resolved sampling. During austral winter, winds were weak, but the air was dry and warm, so as to create very strongly evaporative conditions. Our measurements resolved a persistent and efficient means of transporting salty shelf water into the ambient ocean. Large scale and smaller scale surveys document a large scale alongshore salinity gradient evidently caused by a combination of evaporation and alongshore advection, as well as unique eddy field at the shelf break that has two independent layers of small-scale eddies. Detailed surveys on the inner shelf elucidate cross-shelf exchanges driven by surface evaporation.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography