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Weifeng G. Zhang
,
Glen G. Gawarkiewicz
,
Dennis J. McGillicuddy Jr.
, and
John L. Wilkin

Abstract

A two-dimensional cross-shelf model of the New England continental shelf and slope is used to investigate the mean cross-shelf and vertical circulation at the shelf break and their seasonal variation. The model temperature and salinity fields are nudged toward climatology. Annual and seasonal mean wind stresses are applied on the surface in separate equilibrium simulations. The along-shelf pressure gradient force associated with the along-shelf sea level tilt is tuned to match the modeled and observed depth-averaged along-shelf velocity. Steady-state model solutions show strong seasonal variation in along-shelf and cross-shelf velocity, with the strongest along-shelf jet and interior onshore flow in winter, consistent with observations. Along-shelf sea level tilt associated with the tuned along-shelf pressure gradient increases shoreward because of decreasing water depth. The along-shelf sea level tilt varies seasonally with the wind and is the strongest in winter and weakest in summer. A persistent upwelling is generated at the shelf break with a maximum strength of 2 m day−1 at 50-m depth in winter. The modeled shelfbreak upwelling differs from the traditional view in that most of the upwelled water is from the upper continental slope instead of from the shelf in the form of a detached bottom boundary layer.

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Melissa M. Bowen
,
William J. Emery
,
John L. Wilkin
,
Paul C. Tildesley
,
Ian J. Barton
, and
Rebecca Knewtson

Abstract

Ocean surface circulation can be estimated by automated tracking of thermal infrared features in pairs of sequential satellite imagery. A 7-yr time series of velocity, extracted from thermal imagery of the East Australian Current using the maximum cross-correlation (MCC) technique, provides enough measurements for a more statistical evaluation of the method than has previously been possible. Excluding 1 yr with extensive cloud cover, the method produces about 8000 velocity estimates per month with some seasonal variation. Method precision is estimated to be between 0.08 and 0.2 m s–1 rms, the lower value with more restrictive compositing. Mean flow, time-dependent flow, and eddy kinetic energy from the time series are compared with values derived from a dynamic height climatology, altimeter analyses, and drifter datasets in the region. The observations reproduce similar features in the flow. The differences between the observations are discussed in relation to noise in the methods and differences in the types of velocities they measure.

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