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  • Author or Editor: D. Roemmich x
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T. K. Chereskin and D. Roemmich

Abstract

A comparison of measured and wind-derived ageostrophic transport is presented from a zonal transect spanning the Atlantic Ocean along 11°N. The transport per unit depth shows a striking surface maximum that decays to nearly zero at a depth of approximately 100 m. We identify this flow in the upper 100 m as the Ekman transport. The sustained values of wind stress and the penetration depth of the Ekman transport reported here are considerably greater than in previous observations, which were made in conditions of light winds. The transport of 12.0 ± 5.5 × 106 m3 s−1, calculated from the difference of geostrophic shear and shear measured by an acoustic Doppler current profiler, is in good agreement with that estimated from the shipboard winds, 8.8 ± 1.9 × 106 m3 s−1, and from climatology, 13.5 ± 0.3 × 106 m3 s−1. Qualitatively, the horizontal distribution of the wind-driven flow was best predicted by the shipboard winds. The cumulative transport increased linearly over the western three-fourths of the basin, where the winds were large and spatially uniform, and remained constant over the eastern fourth where the easterly stress was uncharacteristically low. The mean depth of the Ekman transport extended below the mixed layer depth, which varied from 25 to 90 m. The profile of ageostrophic transport does not appear consonant with slablike behavior in the mixed layer, even when spatial variations in mixed layer depth are taken into account.

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