Direct observations of along-isopycnal upwelling and diapycnal velocity at a shelfbreak front

J A Barth, D Hebert, Andrew Dale, D S Ullman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

By mapping the three-dimensional density field while simultaneously tracking a subsurface, isopycnal float, direct observations of upwelling along a shelfbreak front were made on the southern flank of Georges Bank. The thermohaline and bio-optical fields were mapped using a towed undulating vehicle, and horizontal velocity was measured with a shipboard acoustic Doppler current profiler. A subsurface isopycnal float capable of measuring diapycnal flow past the float was acoustically tracked from the ship. The float was released near the foot of the shelfbreak front ( 95 - 100-m isobath) and moved 15 km seaward as it rose from 80 to 50 m along the sloping frontal isopycnals over a 2-day deployment. The float's average westward velocity was 0.09 m s(-1), while a drifter drogued at 15 m released at the same location moved westward essentially alongfront at 0.18 m s(-1). The float measured strong downward vertical velocities ( in excess of 0.02 m s(-1)) associated with propagation of internal tidal solibores in the onbank direction from their formation near the shelf break. The float measured large upward vertical velocities ( in excess of 0.001 m s(-1) similar or equal to 100 m day(-1)) as the pycnocline rebounded adiabatically after the passage of the internal tide solibore. The directly measured mean along-isopycnal vertical velocity was 17.5 m day(-1). Intense mixing events lasting up to 2 hours were observed in the shelfbreak front at the boundary between cold, fresh shelf water and warm, salty slope water. Diapycnal velocities of up to 3 x 10(-3) m s(-1) were measured, implying a diapycnal thermal diffusivity as large as 10(-2) m(2) s(-1), indicative of strong mixing events in this coastal front.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-565
Number of pages23
JournalJ PHYS OCEANOGR
Volume34
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Keywords

  • BOTTOM BOUNDARY-LAYER
  • SALINITY
  • WATER
  • FLOATS
  • CURRENTS
  • GEORGES-BANK
  • TURBULENCE
  • MIDDLE ATLANTIC BIGHT
  • Oceanography
  • INTERNAL WAVES
  • NORTHERN FLANK

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