Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 123(11), (2018): 7795-7818. doi: 10.1029/2018JC013794.
This work studies the subduction of the shelf water along the onshore edge of a warm‐core ring that impinges on the edge of the Mid‐Atlantic Bight continental shelf. The dynamical analysis is based on observations by satellites and from the Ocean Observatories Initiative Pioneer Array observatory as well as idealized numerical model simulations. They together show that frontogenesis‐induced submesoscale frontal subduction with order‐one Rossby and Froude numbers occurs on the onshore edge of the ring. The subduction flow results from the onshore migration of the warm‐core ring that intensifies the density front on the interface of the ring and shelf waters. The subduction is a part of the cross‐front secondary circulation trying to relax the intensifying density front. The dramatically different physical and biogeochemical properties of the ring and shelf waters provide a great opportunity to visualize the subduction phenomenon. Entrained by the ring‐edge current, the subducted shelf water is subsequently transported offshore below a surface layer of ring water and alongside of the surface‐visible shelf‐water streamer. It explains the historical observations of isolated subsurface packets of shelf water along the ring periphery in the slope sea. Model‐based estimate suggests that this type of subduction‐associated subsurface cross‐shelfbreak transport of the shelf water could be substantial relative to other major forms of shelfbreak water exchange. This study also proposes that outward spreading of the ring‐edge front by the frontal subduction may facilitate entrainment of the shelf water by the ring‐edge current and enhances the shelf‐water streamer transport at the shelf edge.
W. G. Z. was supported by the National Science Foundation under grants OCE‐1657853, OCE‐1657803, and OCE 1634965. JP is grateful for the support of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Summer Student Fellow Program in 2016 and 2017. W. G. Z. thanks Kenneth Brink, Glen Gawarkiewicz, Rocky Geyer, Steven Lentz, Dennis McGillicuddy, Robert Todd, and John Trowbridge for helpful discussions during the course of the study or useful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript. The satellite sea surface temperature data were obtained from the University of Delaware Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography Lab (led by Matthew Oliver), through the Mid‐Atlantic Coastal Ocean Observing System (MARACOOS) data server (http://tds.maracoos.org/thredds/catalog.html). The OOI Pioneer Array mooring and glider data presented in this paper were downloaded from the National Science Foundation OOI data portal (http://ooinet.oceanobservatories.org) in July–August 2016.
OOI Pioneer Array
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