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  • Coastal flows  (28)
  • American Meteorological Society  (28)
  • MDPI Publishing
  • 1
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2018-07-18
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 163-174, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0161.1.
    Description: The general problem of exchange from a shallow shelf across sharp topography to the deep ocean forced by narrow, cross-shelf wind jets is studied using quasigeostrophic theory and an idealized primitive equation numerical model. Interest is motivated by katabatic winds that emanate from narrow fjords in southeast Greenland, although similar topographically constrained wind jets are found throughout the world’s oceans. Because there is no net vorticity input by the wind, the circulation is largely confined to the region near the forcing. Circulation over the shelf is limited by bottom friction for weakly stratified flows, but stratification allows for much stronger upper-layer flows that are regulated by weak coupling to the lower layer. Over the sloping topography, the topographic beta effect limits the deep flow, while, for sufficient stratification, the upper-layer flow can cross the topography to connect the shelf to the open ocean. This can be an effective transport mechanism even for short, strong wind events because damping of the upper-layer flow is weak. A variety of transients are generated for an abrupt onset of winds, including short topography Rossby waves, long topographic Rossby waves, and inertial waves. Using parameters representative of southeast Greenland, katabatic wind events will force an offshore transport of O(0.4) Sv (1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) that, when considered for 2 days, will result in an offshore flux of O(5 × 1010) m3.
    Description: MAS was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-1533170.
    Description: 2018-07-18
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Downslope winds ; Ocean dynamics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-01-13
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 1555-1566, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0231.1.
    Description: A primary challenge in modeling flow over shallow coral reefs is accurately characterizing the bottom drag. Previous studies over continental shelves and sandy beaches suggest surface gravity waves should enhance the drag on the circulation over coral reefs. The influence of surface gravity waves on drag over four platform reefs in the Red Sea is examined using observations from 6-month deployments of current and pressure sensors burst sampling at 1Hz for 4–5min. Depth-average current fluctuations U0 within each burst are dominated by wave orbital velocities uw that account for 80%–90%of the burst variance and have a magnitude of order 10 cm s21, similar to the lower-frequency depth-average current Uavg. Previous studies have shown that the cross-reef bottom stress balances the pressure gradient over these reefs. A bottom stress estimate that neglects the waves (rCdaUavgjUavgj, where r is water density and Cda is a drag coefficient) balances the observed pressure gradient when uw is smaller than Uavg but underestimates the pressure gradient when uw is larger than Uavg (by a factor of 3–5 when uw 5 2Uavg), indicating the neglected waves enhance the bottom stress. In contrast, a bottom stress estimate that includes the waves [rCda(Uavg 1 U0)jUavg 1 U0j)] balances the observed pressure gradient independent of the relative size of uw and Uavg, indicating that this estimate accounts for the wave enhancement of the bottom stress. A parameterization proposed by Wright and Thompson provides a reasonable estimate of the total bottom stress (including the waves) given the burst-averaged current and the wave orbital velocity.
    Description: The Red Sea field program was supported by Awards USA 00002 and KSA 00011 made by KAUST. S. Lentz was supported for the analysis by NSF Award OCE-1558343.
    Description: 2019-01-13
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Currents ; Dynamics ; Gravity waves ; Turbulence
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-03-11
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2127-2140, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0035.1.
    Description: Shipboard hydrographic and velocity measurements collected in summer 2014 are used to study the evolution of the freshwater coastal current in southern Greenland as it encounters Cape Farewell. The velocity structure reveals that the coastal current maintains its identity as it flows around the cape and bifurcates such that most of the flow is diverted to the outer west Greenland shelf, while a small portion remains on the inner shelf. Taking into account this inner branch, the volume transport of the coastal current is conserved, but the freshwater transport decreases on the west side of Cape Farewell. A significant amount of freshwater appears to be transported off the shelf where the outer branch flows adjacent to the shelfbreak circulation. It is argued that the offshore transposition of the coastal current is caused by the flow following the isobaths as they bend offshore because of the widening of the shelf on the west side of Cape Farewell. An analysis of the potential vorticity shows that the subsequent seaward flux of freshwater can be enhanced by instabilities of the current. This set of circumstances provides a pathway for the freshest water originating from the Arctic, as well as runoff from the Greenland ice sheet, to be fluxed into the interior Labrador Sea where it could influence convection in the basin.
    Description: Funding for this project was provided by the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-1259618.
    Description: 2019-03-11
    Keywords: Boundary currents ; Coastal flows ; Instability ; Ocean circulation ; Potential vorticity ; Transport
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-07-19
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 1375-1384, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0266.1.
    Description: The relationship between net mixing and the estuarine exchange flow may be quantified using a salinity variance budget. Here “mixing” is defined as the rate of destruction of volume-integrated salinity variance, and the exchange flow is quantified using the total exchange flow. These concepts are explored using an idealized 3D model estuary. It is shown that in steady state (e.g., averaging over the spring–neap cycle) the volume-integrated mixing is approximately given by Mixing ≅ SinSoutQr, where Sin and Sout are the representative salinities of in- and outflowing layers at the mouth and Qr is the river volume flux. This relationship provides an extension of the familiar Knudsen relation, in which the exchange flow is diagnosed based on knowledge of these same three quantities, quantitatively linking mixing to the exchange flow.
    Description: The work was supported by the National Science Foundation through Grants OCE-1736242 to PM and OCE-1736539 to WRG and by the German Research Foundation through Grants TRR 181 and GRK 2000 to HB.
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Diapycnal mixing ; Ocean dynamics ; Streamflow ; Diagnostics ; Isopycnal coordinates
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2018-11-29
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2799-2827, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0057.1.
    Description: The fjords that connect Greenland’s glaciers to the ocean are gateways for importing heat to melt ice and for exporting meltwater into the ocean. The transport of heat and meltwater can be modulated by various drivers of fjord circulation, including freshwater, local winds, and shelf variability. Shelf-forced flows (also known as the intermediary circulation) are the dominant mode of variability in two major fjords of east Greenland, but we lack a dynamical understanding of the fjord’s response to shelf forcing. Building on observations from east Greenland, we use numerical simulations and analytical models to explore the dynamics of shelf-driven flows. For the parameter space of Greenlandic fjords, we find that the fjord’s response is primarily a function of three nondimensional parameters: the fjord width over the deformation radius (W/Rd), the forcing time scale over the fjord adjustment time scale, and the forcing amplitude (shelf pycnocline displacements) over the upper-layer thickness. The shelf-forced flows in both the numerical simulations and the observations can largely be explained by a simple analytical model for Kelvin waves propagating around the fjord. For fjords with W/Rd 〉 0.5 (most Greenlandic fjords), 3D dynamics are integral to understanding shelf forcing—the fjord dynamics cannot be approximated with 2D models that neglect cross-fjord structure. The volume flux exchanged between the fjord and shelf increases for narrow fjords and peaks around the resonant forcing frequency, dropping off significantly at higher- and lower-frequency forcing.
    Description: This work was funded by NSF Grant OCE-1536856 and by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship.
    Keywords: Estuaries ; Glaciers ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Kelvin waves ; Regional models
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-05-03
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 29 (2016): 8317-8331, doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-16-0109.1.
    Description: A simple analytic model is developed to represent the offshore decay of cold sea surface temperature (SST) signals that originate from wind-driven upwelling at a coastal boundary. The model couples an oceanic mixed layer to an atmospheric boundary layer through wind stress and air–sea heat exchange. The primary mechanism that controls SST is a balance between Ekman advection and air–sea exchange. The offshore penetration of the cold SST signal decays exponentially with a length scale that is the product of the ocean Ekman velocity and a time scale derived from the air–sea heat flux and the radiative balance in the atmospheric boundary layer. This cold SST signal imprints on the atmosphere in terms of both the boundary layer temperature and surface wind. Nonlinearities due to the feedback between SST and atmospheric wind, baroclinic instability, and thermal wind in the atmospheric boundary layer all slightly modify this linear theory. The decay scales diagnosed from two-dimensional and three-dimensional eddy-resolving numerical ocean models are in close agreement with the theory, demonstrating that the basic physics represented by the theory remain dominant even in these more complete systems. Analysis of climatological SST off the west coast of the United States also shows a decay of the cold SST anomaly with scale roughly in agreement with the theory.
    Description: MASwas supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowed Fund for Innovative Research and the National Science Foundation under Grant OCE-1433170 and PLR-1415489. NS was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant NNX14AL83G, the Department of Energy, Office of Science Grant DE-SC0006766, and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology as part of the JAMSTEC-IPRC Joint Investigations.
    Description: 2017-05-03
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Ocean dynamics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2018-01-13
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 47 (2017): 1921-1939, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0146.1.
    Description: The role of surface gravity waves in structuring the air–sea momentum flux is examined in the middle reaches of Chesapeake Bay. Observed wave spectra showed that wave direction in Chesapeake Bay is strongly correlated with basin geometry. Waves preferentially developed in the direction of maximum fetch, suggesting that dominant wave frequencies may be commonly and persistently misaligned with local wind forcing. Direct observations from an ultrasonic anemometer and vertical array of ADVs show that the magnitude and direction of stress changed across the air–sea interface, suggesting that a stress divergence occurred at or near the water surface. Using a numerical wave model in combination with direct flux measurements, the air–sea momentum flux was partitioned between the surface wave field and the mean flow. Results indicate that the surface wave field can store or release a significant fraction of the total momentum flux depending on the direction of the wind. When wind blew across dominant fetch axes, the generation of short gravity waves stored as much as 40% of the total wind stress. Accounting for the storage of momentum in the surface wave field closed the air–sea momentum budget. Agreement between the direction of Lagrangian shear and the direction of the stress vector in the mixed surface layer suggests that the observed directional difference was due to the combined effect of breaking waves producing downward sweeps of momentum in the direction of wave propagation and the straining of that vorticity field in a manner similar to Langmuir turbulence.
    Description: This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grants OCE-1061609 and OCE-1339032.
    Description: 2018-01-13
    Keywords: Atmosphere-ocean interaction ; Coastal flows ; Mixing ; Momentum ; Wind stress ; Wind waves
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2018-02-28
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Weather and Forecasting 32 (2017): 1659-1666, doi:10.1175/WAF-D-17-0076.1.
    Description: Although rip currents are a major hazard for beachgoers, the relationship between the danger to swimmers and the physical properties of rip current circulation is not well understood. Here, the relationship between statistical model estimates of hazardous rip current likelihood and in situ velocity observations is assessed. The statistical model is part of a forecasting system that is being made operational by the National Weather Service to predict rip current hazard likelihood as a function of wave conditions and water level. The temporal variability of rip current speeds (offshore-directed currents) observed on an energetic sandy beach is correlated with the hindcasted hazard likelihood for a wide range of conditions. High likelihoods and rip current speeds occurred for low water levels, nearly shore-normal wave angles, and moderate or larger wave heights. The relationship between modeled hazard likelihood and the frequency with which rip current speeds exceeded a threshold was assessed for a range of threshold speeds. The frequency of occurrence of high (threshold exceeding) rip current speeds is consistent with the modeled probability of hazard, with a maximum Brier skill score of 0.65 for a threshold speed of 0.23 m s−1, and skill scores greater than 0.60 for threshold speeds between 0.15 and 0.30 m s−1. The results suggest that rip current speed may be an effective proxy for hazard level and that speeds greater than ~0.2 m s−1 may be hazardous to swimmers.
    Description: Funding was provided by the National Science Foundation (1232910, 1332705, and 1536365), and by National Security Science and Engineering and Vannevar Bush Faculty Fellowships funded by the assistant secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering.
    Description: 2018-02-28
    Keywords: Coastlines ; Coastal flows ; Waves, oceanic ; Forecast verification/skill ; Probability forecasts/models/distribution ; Statistical forecasting
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 9
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-04-07
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 46 (2016): 3139-3154, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0042.1.
    Description: Downfront, or downwelling favorable, winds are commonly found over buoyant coastal plumes. It is known that these winds can result in mixing of the plume with the ambient water and that the winds influence the transport, spatial extent, and stability of the plumes. In the present study, the interaction of the Ekman velocity in the surface layer and baroclinic instability supported by the strong horizontal density gradient of the plume is explored with the objective of understanding the potential vorticity and buoyancy budgets. The approach makes use of an idealized numerical model and scaling theory. It is shown that when winds are present the weak stratification resulting from vertical mixing and the strong baroclinicity of the front results in near-zero average potential vorticity q. For weak to moderate winds, the reduction of q by diapycnal mixing is balanced by the generation of q through the geostrophic stress term in the regions of strong horizontal density gradients and stable stratification. However, for very strong winds the wind stress overwhelms the geostrophic stress and leads to a reduction in q, which is balanced by the vertical mixing term. In the absence of winds, the geostrophic stress dominates mixing and the flow rapidly restratifies. Nonlinearity, extremes of relative vorticity and vertical velocity, and mixing are all enhanced by the presence of a coast. Scaling estimates developed for the eddy buoyancy flux, the surface potential vorticity flux, and the diapycnal mixing rate compare well with results diagnosed from a series of numerical model calculations.
    Description: This study was supported by NSF Grants OCE-1433170 (MAS) and OCE-1459677 (LNT).
    Description: 2017-04-07
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Wind stress
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2016-11-02
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 46 (2016): 2735-2768, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0134.1.
    Description: In Greenland’s glacial fjords, heat and freshwater are exchanged between glaciers and the ocean. Submarine melting of glaciers has been implicated as a potential trigger for recent glacier acceleration, and observations of ocean heat transport are increasingly being used to infer the submarine melt rates. The complete heat, salt, and mass budgets that underlie such methods, however, have been largely neglected. Here, a new framework for exploring glacial fjord budgets is developed. Building on estuarine studies of salt budgets, the heat, salt, and mass transports through the fjord are decomposed, and new equations for calculating freshwater fluxes from submarine meltwater and runoff are presented. This method is applied to moored records from Sermilik Fjord, near the terminus of Helheim Glacier, to evaluate the dominant balances in the fjord budgets and to estimate freshwater fluxes. Throughout the year, two different regimes are found. In the nonsummer months, advective transports are balanced by changes in heat/salt storage within their ability to measure; freshwater fluxes cannot be inferred as a residual. In the summer, a mean exchange flow emerges, consisting of inflowing Atlantic water and outflowing glacially modified water. This exchange transports heat toward the glacier and is primarily balanced by changes in storage and latent heat for melting ice. The total freshwater flux increases over the summer, reaching 1200 ± 700 m3 s−1 of runoff and 1500 ± 500 m3 s−1 of submarine meltwater from glaciers and icebergs in August. The methods and results highlight important components of fjord budgets, particularly the storage and barotropic terms, that have been not been appropriately considered in previous estimates of submarine melting.
    Description: The data collection and analysis was funded by NSF Grants ARC-0909373, OCE-113008, and OCE-1434041.
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Estuaries ; Glaciers ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Coastal flows ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Freshwater ; Snowmelt/icemelt ; Observational techniques and algorithms ; In situ oceanic observations
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 11
    Publication Date: 2017-08-03
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 46 (2016): 2201-2218, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0020.1.
    Description: This paper aims to test the validity, utility, and limitations of the lateral eddy diffusivity concept in a coastal environment through analyzing data from coupled drifter and dye releases within the footprint of a high-resolution (800 m) high-frequency radar south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Specifically, this study investigates how well a combination of radar-based velocities and drifter-derived diffusivities can reproduce observed dye spreading over an 8-h time interval. A drifter-based estimate of an anisotropic diffusivity tensor is used to parameterize small-scale motions that are unresolved and underresolved by the radar system. This leads to a significant improvement in the ability of the radar to reproduce the observed dye spreading.
    Description: IR, AK, and SL were supported by the NSF OCE Grant 1332646. IR was also supported by NASA Grant NNX14AH29G.
    Description: 2016-12-29
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Coastal flows ; Diffusion ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Observational techniques and algorithms ; Radars/Radar observations ; Models and modeling ; Tracers
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  • 12
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 546–561, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0082.1.
    Description: Model studies and observations in the Hudson River estuary indicate that frontogenesis occurs as a result of topographic forcing. Bottom fronts form just downstream of lateral constrictions, where the width of the estuary increases in the down-estuary (i.e., seaward) direction. The front forms during the last several hours of the ebb, when the combination of adverse pressure gradient in the expansion and baroclinicity cause a stagnation of near-bottom velocity. Frontogenesis is observed in two dynamical regimes: one in which the front develops at a transition from subcritical to supercritical flow and the other in which the flow is everywhere supercritical. The supercritical front formation appears to be associated with lateral flow separation. Both types of fronts are three-dimensional, with strong lateral gradients along the flanks of the channel. During spring tide conditions, the fronts dissipate during the flood, whereas during neap tides the fronts are advected landward during the flood. The zone of enhanced density gradient initiates frontogenesis at multiple constrictions along the estuary as it propagates landward more than 60 km during several days of neap tides. Frontogenesis and frontal propagation may thus be essential elements of the spring-to-neap transition to stratified conditions in partially mixed estuaries.
    Description: Support for this research was provided by NSF Grant OCE 0926427.
    Description: 2015-08-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Frontogenesis/frontolysis ; Fronts
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 319–342, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-095.1.
    Description: The California Undercurrent (CUC), a poleward-flowing feature over the continental slope, is a key transport pathway along the west coast of North America and an important component of regional upwelling dynamics. This study examines the poleward undercurrent and alongshore pressure gradients in the northern California Current System (CCS), where local wind stress forcing is relatively weak. The dynamics of the undercurrent are compared in the primitive equation Navy Coastal Ocean Model and a linear coastal trapped wave model. Both models are validated using hydrographic data and current-meter observations in the core of the undercurrent in the northern CCS. In the linear model, variability in the predominantly equatorward wind stress along the U.S. West Coast produces episodic reversals to poleward flow over the northern CCS slope during summer. However, reproducing the persistence of the undercurrent during late summer requires additional incoming energy from sea level variability applied south of the region of the strongest wind forcing. The relative importance of the barotropic and baroclinic components of the modeled alongshore pressure gradient changes with latitude. In contrast to the southern and central portions of the CCS, the baroclinic component of the alongshore pressure gradient provides the primary poleward force at CUC depths over the northern CCS slope. At time scales from weeks to months, the alongshore pressure gradient force is primarily balanced by the Coriolis force associated with onshore flow.
    Description: This work was supported by grants to B. Hickey from the Coastal Ocean Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (NA17OP2789 and NA09NOS4780180) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (OCE0234587 and OCE0942675) as part of the Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms Pacific Northwest (ECOHAB PNW) and Pacific Northwest Toxin (PNWTOX) projects. I. Shulman was supported by the Naval Research Laboratory.
    Description: 2014-07-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Continental shelf/slope ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Models and modeling ; Model evaluation/performance ; Variability ; Intraseasonal variability ; Seasonal variability
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 31 (2014): 1410–1421, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-13-00230.1.
    Description: Aerial images are used to quantify the concentration of fluorescent Rhodamine water tracing (WT) dye in turbid and optically deep water. Tracer releases near the shoreline of an ocean beach and near a tidal inlet were observed with a two-band multispectral camera and a pushbroom hyperspectral imager, respectively. The aerial observations are compared with near-surface in situ measurements. The ratio of upwelling radiance near the Rhodamine WT excitation and emission peaks varies linearly with the in situ dye concentrations for concentrations 〈20 ppb (r2 = 0.70 and r2 = 0.85–0.88 at the beach and inlet, respectively). The linear relationship allows for relative tracer concentration estimates without in situ calibration. The O(1 m) image pixels resolve complex flow structures on the inner shelf that transport and mix tracer.
    Description: We thank ONR and NSF for funding this work.
    Description: 2014-12-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Mixing ; Transport ; Aircraft observations ; Remote sensing ; Tracers
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 86–103, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-075.1.
    Description: This study investigates the effects of horizontal and vertical density gradients on the inner-shelf response to cross-shelf wind stress by using an idealized numerical model and observations from a moored array deployed south of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. In two-dimensional (no along-shelf variation) numerical model runs of an initially stratified shelf, a cross-shelf wind stress drives vertical mixing that results in a nearly well-mixed inner shelf with a cross-shelf density gradient because of the sloping bottom. The cross-shelf density gradient causes an asymmetric response to on- and offshore wind stresses. For density increasing offshore, an offshore wind stress drives a near-surface offshore flow and near-bottom onshore flow that slightly enhances the vertical stratification and the cross-shelf circulation. An onshore wind stress drives the reverse cross-shelf circulation reducing the vertical stratification and the cross-shelf circulation. A horizontal Richardson number is shown to be the nondimensional parameter that controls the dependence of the wind-driven nondimensional cross-shelf transport on the cross-shelf density gradient. Field observations show the same empirical relationship between the horizontal Richardson number and transport fraction as the model predicts. These results show that it is the cross-shelf rather than vertical density gradient that is critical to predicting the inner-shelf cross-shelf transport driven by a cross-shelf wind stress.
    Description: This work was funded by Ocean Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation Grant OCE-0548961 and by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution through the Academic Programs Office and the Coastal Ocean Institute. Data central to this study were provided by the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory, which is funded by WHOI and the Jewett/EDUC/Harrison Foundation.
    Description: 2014-07-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Coastal flows ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Upwelling/downwelling
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 31 (2014): 945–966, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-13-00146.1.
    Description: This study investigated the correspondence between the near-surface drifters from a mass drifter deployment near Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and the surface current observations from a network of three high-resolution, high-frequency radars to understand the effects of the radar temporal and spatial resolution on the resulting Eulerian current velocities and Lagrangian trajectories and their predictability. The radar-based surface currents were found to be unbiased in direction but biased in magnitude with respect to drifter velocities. The radar systematically underestimated velocities by approximately 2 cm s−1 due to the smoothing effects of spatial and temporal averaging. The radar accuracy, quantified by the domain-averaged rms difference between instantaneous radar and drifter velocities, was found to be about 3.8 cm s−1. A Lagrangian comparison between the real and simulated drifters resulted in the separation distances of roughly 1 km over the course of 10 h, or an equivalent separation speed of approximately 2.8 cm s−1. The effects of the temporal and spatial radar resolution were examined by degrading the radar fields to coarser resolutions, revealing the existence of critical scales (1.5–2 km and 3 h) beyond which the ability of the radar to reproduce drifter trajectories decreased more rapidly. Finally, the importance of the different flow components present during the experiment—mean, tidal, locally wind-driven currents, and the residual velocities—was analyzed, finding that, during the study period, a combination of tidal, locally wind-driven, and mean currents were insufficient to reliably reproduce, with minimal degradation, the trajectories of real drifters. Instead, a minimum combination of the tidal and residual currents was required.
    Description: I.R. was supported by the WHOI Coastal Ocean Institute Project 27040148 and by the WHOI Access to the Sea Program 27500036. I.R. and A.K. acknowledge support fromthe NSF project 83264600. A.K. acknowledges support from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) via the New England Marine Renewable Energy Center (MREC).
    Description: 2014-10-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Currents ; Lagrangian circulation/transport ; Trajectories ; Radars/Radar observations
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 17
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 1028–1041, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0159.1.
    Description: The circulation induced by the interaction of surface Ekman transport with an island is considered using both numerical models and linear theory. The basic response is similar to that found for the interaction of Ekman layers and an infinite boundary, namely downwelling (upwelling) in narrow boundary layers and deformation-scale baroclinic boundary layers with associated strong geostrophic flows. The presence of the island boundary, however, allows the pressure signal to propagate around the island so that the regions of upwelling and downwelling are dynamically connected. In the absence of stratification the island acts as an effective barrier to the Ekman transport. The presence of stratification supports baroclinic boundary currents that provide an advective pathway from one side of the island to the other. The resulting steady circulation is quite complex. Near the island, both geostrophic and ageostrophic velocity components are typically large. The density anomaly is maximum below the surface and, for positive wind stress, exhibits an anticyclonic phase rotation with depth (direction of Kelvin wave propagation) such that anomalously warm water can lie below regions of Ekman upwelling. The horizontal and vertical velocities exhibit similar phase changes with depth. The addition of a sloping bottom can act to shield the deep return flow from interacting with the island and providing mass transport into/out of the surface Ekman layer. In these cases, the required transport is provided by a pair of recirculation gyres that connect the narrow upwelling/downwelling boundary layers on the eastern and western sides of the island, thus directly connecting the Ekman transport across the island.
    Description: This study was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants OCE-0826656 and OCE-0959381 (MAS), and OCE-0925061 (JP).
    Description: 2013-11-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Ocean dynamics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2016-04-22
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 1841–1861, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-12-0231.1.
    Description: In this idealized numerical modeling study, the composition of residual sediment fluxes in energetic (e.g., weakly or periodically stratified) tidal estuaries is investigated by means of one-dimensional water column models, with some focus on the sediment availability. Scaling of the underlying dynamic equations shows dependence of the results on the Simpson number (relative strength of horizontal density gradient) and the Rouse number (relative settling velocity) as well as impacts of the Unsteadiness number (relative tidal frequency). Here, the parameter space given by the Simpson and Rouse numbers is mainly investigated. A simple analytical model based on the assumption of stationarity shows that for small Simpson and Rouse numbers sediment flux is down estuary and vice versa for large Simpson and Rouse numbers. A fully dynamic water column model coupled to a second-moment turbulence closure model allows to decompose the sediment flux profiles into contributions from the transport flux (product of subtidal velocity and sediment concentration profiles) and the fluctuation flux profiles (tidal covariance between current velocity and sediment concentration). Three different types of bottom sediment pools are distinguished to vary the sediment availability, by defining a time scale for complete sediment erosion. For short erosion times scales, the transport sediment flux may dominate, but for larger erosion time scales the fluctuation sediment flux largely dominates the tidal sediment flux. When quarter-diurnal components are added to the tidal forcing, up-estuary sediment fluxes are strongly increased for stronger and shorter flood tides and vice versa. The theoretical results are compared to field observations in a tidally energetic inlet.
    Description: Project funding was provided by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in the framework of the Project ECOWS (Role of Estuarine Circulation for Transport of Suspended Particulate Matter in the Wadden Sea, BU 1199/11) and by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education in the framework of the Project PACE [The future of the Wadden Sea sediment fluxes: still keeping pace with sea level rise? (FKZ 03F0634A)].
    Description: 2014-03-01
    Keywords: Channel flows ; Coastal flows ; Mixing ; Transport ; Turbulence ; Single column models
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2016-04-22
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 1940–1958, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-020.1.
    Description: The spatial structure of the tidal and background circulation over the inner shelf south of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, was investigated using observations from a high-resolution, high-frequency coastal radar system, paired with satellite SSTs and in situ ADCP velocities. Maximum tidal velocities for the dominant semidiurnal constituent increased from 5 to 35 cm s−1 over the 20-km-wide domain with phase variations up to 60°. A northeastward jet along the eastern edge and a recirculation region inshore dominated the annually averaged surface currents, along with a separate along-shelf jet offshore. Owing in part to this variable circulation, the spatial structure of seasonal SST anomalies had implications for the local heat balance. Cooling owing to the advective heat flux divergence was large enough to offset more than half of the seasonal heat gain owing to surface heat flux. Tidal stresses were the largest terms in the mean along- and across-shelf momentum equations in the area of the recirculation, with residual wind stress and the Coriolis term dominating to the west and south, respectively. The recirculation was strongest in summer, with mean winds and tidal stresses accounting for much of the differences between summer and winter mean circulation. Despite the complex bathymetry and short along-shelf spatial scales, a simple model of tidal rectification was able to recreate the features of the northeastward jet and match an estimate of the across-shelf structure of sea surface height inferred from the residual of the momentum analysis.
    Description: 2014-03-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Momentum ; Sea surface temperature ; Tides ; Surface observations
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 20
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 28 (2011): 1539–1553, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00001.1.
    Description: Turbulent Reynolds stresses are now routinely estimated from acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements in estuaries and tidal channels using the variance method, yet biases due to surface gravity waves limit its use in the coastal ocean. Recent modifications to this method, including spatially filtering velocities to isolate the turbulence from wave velocities and fitting a cospectral model to the below-wave band cospectra, have been used to remove this bias. Individually, each modification performed well for the published test datasets, but a comparative analysis over the range of conditions in the coastal ocean has not yet been performed. This work uses ADCP velocity measurements from five previously published coastal ocean and estuarine datasets, which span a range of wave and current conditions as well as instrument configurations, to directly compare methods for estimating stresses in the presence of waves. The computed stresses from each were compared to bottom stress estimates from a quadratic drag law and, where available, estimates of wind stress. These comparisons, along with an analysis of the cospectra, indicated that spectral fitting performs well when the wave climate is wide-banded and/or multidirectional as well as when instrument noise is high. In contrast, spatial filtering performs better when waves are narrow-banded, low frequency, and when wave orbital velocities are strong relative to currents. However, as spatial filtering uses vertically separated velocity bins to remove the wave bias, spectral fitting is able to resolve stresses over a larger fraction of the water column.
    Description: J. Rosman acknowledges funding from the National Science Foundation (OCE-1061108).
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Momentum ; Ocean circulation ; Waves, oceanic ; In situ observations ; Instrumentation/sensors
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 1083–1098, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-015.1.
    Description: Here, the response of a coastally trapped buoyant plume to downwelling-favorable wind forcing is explored using a simplified two-dimensional numerical model and a prognostic theory for the resulting width, depth, and density anomaly and along-shelf transport of the plume. Consistent with the numerical simulations, the analytical model shows that the wind causes mixing of the plume water and that the forced cross-shelf circulation can also generate significant deepening and surface narrowing, as well as increased along-shelf transport. The response is due to a combination of the purely advective process that leads to the steepening of the isopycnals and the entrainment of ambient water into the plume. The advective component depends on the initial plume geometry: plumes that have a large fraction of their total width in contact with the bottom (“bottom trapped”) suffer relatively small depth and width changes compared to plumes that have a large fraction of their total width detached from the bottom (“surface trapped”). Key theoretical parameters are Wγ/Wα, the ratio of the width of the plume detached from the bottom to the width of the plume in contact with it, and the ratio of the wind-generated mixed layer δe to the initial plume depth hp, which determines the amount of water initially entrained into the plume. The model results also show that the cross-shelf circulation can be strongly influenced by the wind-driven response in combination with the geostrophic shear of the plume. The continuous entrainment into the plume, as well as transient events, is also discussed.
    Description: This work has been supported by FONDECYT Grant 1070501. S. Lentz received support by theNational Science Foundation GrantOCE-0751554. C. Moffat had additional support from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs through U.S. Southern Ocean GLOBEC Grants OPP 99-10092 and 06- 23223.
    Description: 2013-01-01
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Boundary currents ; Coastal flows ; Upwelling/downwelling ; Wind ; Ocean models
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 22
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 644–658, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-0143.1.
    Description: When steady flow in a stratified ocean passes between the continental slope and open ocean, its ability to cross isobaths is potentially limited by buoyancy arrest. If the bottom Ekman transport vanishes and there are no interior stresses, then steady linear flow on an f plane must be geostrophic and follow isobaths exactly. The influence of arrest on cross-shelf transport is investigated here to establish 1) whether there are substantial penetration asymmetries between cases with upwelling and downwelling in the bottom boundary layer; 2) over what spatial scales, hence in what parameter regime, buoyancy arrest is important; and 3) the effects of depth-dependent interior flow. The problem is approached using scalings and idealized numerical models. The results show that there is little or no asymmetry introduced by bottom boundary layer behavior. Further, if the stratification is weak or moderate, as measured by a slope Burger number s = αN/f (where α is the bottom slope, N is buoyancy frequency, and f is the Coriolis parameter), buoyancy arrest does not exert a strong constraint on cross-isobath exchange.
    Description: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Physical Oceanography program through Grant OCE-0849498.
    Description: 2012-10-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Ekman pumping/transport
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 748–763, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-086.1.
    Description: Isohaline coordinate analysis is used to compare the exchange flow in two contrasting estuaries, the long (with respect to tidal excursion) Hudson River and the short Merrimack River, using validated numerical models. The isohaline analysis averages fluxes in salinity space rather than in physical space, yielding the isohaline exchange flow that incorporates both subtidal and tidal fluxes and precisely satisfies the Knudsen relation. The isohaline analysis can be consistently applied to both subtidally and tidally dominated estuaries. In the Hudson, the isohaline exchange flow is similar to results from the Eulerian analysis, and the conventional estuarine theory can be used to quantify the salt transport based on scaling with the baroclinic pressure gradient. In the Merrimack, the isohaline exchange flow is much larger than the Eulerian quantity, indicating the dominance of tidal salt flux. The exchange flow does not scale with the baroclinic pressure gradient but rather with tidal volume flux. This tidal exchange is driven by tidal pumping due to the jet–sink flow at the mouth constriction, leading to a linear dependence of exchange flow on tidal volume flux. Finally, a tidal conversion parameter Qin/Qprism, measuring the fraction of tidal inflow Qprism that is converted into net exchange Qin, is proposed to characterize the exchange processes among different systems. It is found that the length scale ratio between tidal excursion and salinity intrusion provides a characteristic to distinguish estuarine regimes.
    Description: SNC is supported by a WHOI postdoctoral scholarship, a NSF Grant OCE-0926427, and a Taiwan National Science Council Grant NSC 100- 2199-M-002-028.WRGis supported byNSFGrantOCE- 0926427. JAL is supported by NSF Grant OCE-0452054.
    Description: 2012-11-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows
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  • 24
    Publication Date: 2017-01-07
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology 29 (2012): 1377–1390, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-11-00160.1.
    Description: Estimates of surface currents over the continental shelf are now regularly made using high-frequency radar (HFR) systems along much of the U.S. coastline. The recently deployed HFR system at the Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) is a unique addition to these systems, focusing on high spatial resolution over a relatively small coastal ocean domain with high accuracy. However, initial results from the system showed sizable errors and biased estimates of M2 tidal currents, prompting an examination of new methods to improve the quality of radar-based velocity data. The analysis described here utilizes the radial metric output of CODAR Ocean Systems’ version 7 release of the SeaSonde Radial Site Software Suite to examine both the characteristics of the received signal and the output of the direction-finding algorithm to provide data quality controls on the estimated radial currents that are independent of the estimated velocity. Additionally, the effect of weighting spatial averages of radials falling within the same range and azimuthal bin is examined to account for differences in signal quality. Applied to two month-long datasets from the MVCO high-resolution system, these new methods are found to improve the rms difference comparisons with in situ current measurements by up to 2 cm s−1, as well as reduce or eliminate observed biases of tidal ellipses estimated using standard methods.
    Description: 2013-03-01
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Currents ; Data processing ; Data quality control ; In situ atmospheric observations ; Remote sensing
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  • 25
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 38 (2008): 2341-2357, doi:10.1175/2008JPO3986.1.
    Description: Onshore volume transport (Stokes drift) due to surface gravity waves propagating toward the beach can result in a compensating Eulerian offshore flow in the surf zone referred to as undertow. Observed offshore flows indicate that wave-driven undertow extends well offshore of the surf zone, over the inner shelves of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Theoretical estimates of the wave-driven offshore transport from linear wave theory and observed wave characteristics account for 50% or more of the observed offshore transport variance in water depths between 5 and 12 m, and reproduce the observed dependence on wave height and water depth. During weak winds, wave-driven cross-shelf velocity profiles over the inner shelf have maximum offshore flow (1–6 cm s−1) and vertical shear near the surface and weak flow and shear in the lower half of the water column. The observed offshore flow profiles do not resemble the parabolic profiles with maximum flow at middepth observed within the surf zone. Instead, the vertical structure is similar to the Stokes drift velocity profile but with the opposite direction. This vertical structure is consistent with a dynamical balance between the Coriolis force associated with the offshore flow and an along-shelf “Hasselmann wave stress” due to the influence of the earth’s rotation on surface gravity waves. The close agreement between the observed and modeled profiles provides compelling evidence for the importance of the Hasselmann wave stress in forcing oceanic flows. Summer profiles are more vertically sheared than either winter profiles or model profiles, for reasons that remain unclear.
    Description: This research was funded by the Ocean Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation under Grants OCE-0241292 and OCE-0548961.
    Keywords: Continental shelf ; Transport ; Shear structure/flows ; Coastal flows ; Gravity waves
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  • 26
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    Unknown
    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2007. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 37 (2007): 2776-2784, doi:10.1175/2007JPO3710.1.
    Description: The bottom boundary layer of a stratified flow on a coastal continental shelf is examined using the model of Chapman and Lentz. The flow is driven by a surface stress, uniform in the alongshore coordinate, in a downwelling-favorable direction. The stress diminishes in the offshore direction and produces an Ekman pumping, as well as an onshore Ekman flux. The model yields an interior flow, sandwiched between an upper Ekman layer and a bottom boundary layer. The interior has a horizontal density gradient produced by a balance between horizontal diffusion of density and vertical advection of a background vertical density gradient. The interior flow is vertically sheared and in thermal wind balance. Whereas the original model of Chapman and Lentz considered an alongshore flow that is freely evolving, the present note focuses on the equilibrium structure of a flow driven by stress and discusses the vertical and lateral structure of the flow and, in particular, the boundary layer thickness. The vertical diffusivity of density in the bottom boundary layer is considered so strong, locally, as to render the bottom boundary layer’s density a function of only offshore position. Boundary layer budgets of mass, momentum, and buoyancy determine the barotropic component of the interior flow as well as the boundary layer thickness, which is a function of the offshore coordinate. The alongshore flow has enhanced vertical shear in the boundary layer that reduces the alongshore flow in the boundary layer; however, the velocity at the bottom is generally not zero but produces a stress that locally balances the applied surface stress. The offshore transport in the bottom boundary layer therefore balances the onshore surface Ekman flux. The model predicts the thickness of the bottom boundary layer, which is a complicated function of several parameters, including the strength of the forcing stress, the vertical and horizontal diffusion coefficients in the interior, and the horizontal diffusion in the boundary layer. The model yields a boundary layer over only a finite portion of the bottom slope if the interior diffusion coefficients are too large; otherwise, the layer extends over the full lateral extent of the domain.
    Description: This research was supported in part by NSF Grant OCE-851086.00.
    Keywords: Boundary layer ; Continental shelf ; Coastal flows ; Ekman pumping ; Forcing
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  • 27
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 39 (2009): 1541-1550, doi:10.1175/2008JPO3999.1.
    Description: The response of a zonal channel to a uniform, switched-on but subsequently steady poleward outflow is presented. An eastward coastal current with a Kelvin wave’s cross-shore structure is found to be generated instantly upon initiation of the outflow. The current is essentially in geostrophic balance everywhere except for the vicinity of the outflow channel mouth, where the streamlines must cross planetary vorticity contours to feed the current. The adjustment of this region generates a plume that propagates westward at Rossby wave speeds. The cross-shore structure of the plume varies with longitude, and at any given longitude it evolves with time. The authors show that the plume evolution can be understood both conceptually and quantitatively as the westward propagation of the Kelvin current’s meridional spectrum, with each spectral element propagating at its own Rossby wave group velocity.
    Description: This work was completed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution while T.S. Durland was supported by the Ocean and Climate Change Institute. M.A. Spall was supported by NSF Grant OCE-0423975, and J. Pedlosky by NSF Grant OCE-0451086. T.S. Durland acknowledges additional report preparation support from NASA Grant NNG05GN98G.
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Estuaries ; Currents ; Vorticity ; Plumes
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  • 28
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 39 (2009): 1258-1271, doi:10.1175/2008JPO4028.1.
    Description: This paper presents a set of laboratory experiments focused on how a buoyant coastal current flowing over a sloping bottom interacts with a canyon and what controls the separation, if any, of the current from the upstream canyon bend. The results show that the separation of a buoyant coastal current depends on the current width W relative to the radius of curvature of the bathymetry ρc. The flow moved across the mouth of the canyon (i.e., separated) for W/ρc 〉 1, in agreement with previous results. The present study extends previous work by examining both slope-controlled and surface-trapped currents, and using a geometry specific to investigating buoyant current–canyon interaction. The authors find that, although bottom friction is important in setting the position of the buoyant front, the separation process driven by the inertia of the flow could overcome even the strongest bathymetric influence. Application of the laboratory results to the East Greenland Current (EGC), an Arctic-origin buoyant current that is observed to flow in two branches south of Denmark Strait, suggests that the path of the EGC is influenced by the large canyons cutting across the shelf, as the range of W/ρc in the ocean spans those observed in the laboratory. What causes the formation of a two-branched EGC structure downstream of the Kangerdlugssuaq Canyon (68°N, 32°W) is still unclear, but potential mechanisms are discussed.
    Description: This work was partially funded by NSF Grant OCE-0450658. DS also received support from the Academic Programs Office of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, while CC had partial support from NSF OCE-0350891.
    Keywords: Coastal flows ; Buoyancy ; Currents ; Experimental design ; Topographic effects
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