Modeling the Formation and Offshore Transport of Dense Water from High-Latitude Coastal Polynyas
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
Pagination or Media Count:
Our long-term goal is to understand the role that dense water, formed on high-latitude continental shelves, plays in the thermohaline circulation of the Arctic Ocean and the maintenance of the mean hydrographic structure of the deep Arctic basins, e.g. the upper halocline. Our immediate objective is to improve our basic understanding and ability to predict 1 the formation and offshore transport of dense shelf waters formed beneath high-latitude coastal polynyas and 2 the pathways by which dense shelf waters enter the deep basins. Our hypothesis is that dense water, formed beneath coastal polynyas, is transported across the shelf via small-scale 15-25 km eddies e.g. Gawarkiewicz and Chapman, 1995 Chapman and Gawarkiewicz, 1997 Chapman, 1999 Gawarkiewicz, 2000. These dense water eddies are capable of moving offshore across the shelf break and into the deep basins where they contribute to the maintenance of the observed thermohaline structure. We are testing this hypothesis with a combination of 1 process-oriented numerical modeling, 2 analyses of historical observations, and 3 numerical modeling of realistic coastal polynyas.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography