Accession Number:

ADA528026

Title:

Numerical Investigation of the Middle Atlantic Bight Shelfbreak Frontal Circulation Using a High-Resolution Ocean Hindcast Model

Descriptive Note:

Journal article

Corporate Author:

NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIV AT RALEIGH DEPT OF MARINE EARTH AND ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCES

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2010-05-01

Pagination or Media Count:

17.0

Abstract:

A nested high-resolution ocean model is used to hindcast the Middle Atlantic Bight MAB shelfbreak circulation from December 2003 to June 2008. The model is driven by tidal harmonics, realistic atmospheric forcing, and dynamically consistent initial and open boundary conditions obtained from a large-scale circulation model. Simulated shelfbreak sea levels and tracer fields compare favorably with satellite observations and available in situ hydrographic climatology, demonstrating the utility of this nested ocean model for resolving the MAB shelfbreak circulation. The resulting time and space continuous hindcast solutions between January 2004 and December 2007 are used to describe the mean structures and temporal variations of the shelfbreak front and jet, the bottom boundary layer detachment, and the migration of the shelfbreak front. It is found that the shelfbreak jet and boundary convergence reach their maximum intensities in the spring, at which time the foot of the front also migrates to its farthest offshore position. Vorticity analyses reveal that the magnitude ratio of the mean relative vorticity between the seaward and the shoreward portions of the shelfbreak front is about 21. The shelfbreak ageostrophic circulation is largely controlled by the viscosity in the boundary layers and by the nonlinear advection in the flow interior. Simulated three-dimensional velocity and tracer fields are used to estimate the transport and heat and salt fluxes across the 200-m isobath. Within the model domain, the total cross-shelf water transport, the total eddy heat flux, and the total eddy salt flux are 0.0356 plus or minus 0.26 Sv 1 Sv 106 m3 s-1, 1.0x103 plus or minus 4 x 104 W m-2, and 6.7 x 10-5 plus or minus 7.0 x 10-4 kg m-2 s-1. The empirical orthogonal function EOF analysis on the 4-yr shelfbreak circulation hindcast solutions identifies two dominant modes.

Subject Categories:

  • Physical and Dynamic Oceanography

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE