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  • Author or Editor: R. L. Charnell x
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L. K. Coachman
and
R. L. Charnell

Abstract

Salinity-temperature-depth data obtained on several spring and summer cruises during 1976 and 1977 from outer Bristol Bay in the southeast Bering Sea indicate the existence of a zone, between two well-defined water masses, where details of the interaction process are observable. This interaction zone is approximately 100–150 km wide and is characterized by a plethora of mid-water-column finestructure, in both temperature and salinity, that exhibit a hierarchy of vertical scale sizes. Vertical mixing energy within the zone appears low, which results in persistence of interleaving signatures induced by horizontal interaction of the two adjacent water masses. Such interaction probably occurs between all laterally juxtaposed water masses of nearly the same density; outer Bristol Bay allows enhanced examination of the process because of the broad lateral extent of the transition zone.

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R. D. Muench
and
R. L. Charnell

Abstract

During winter 1974–75, band-like ice features were observed via satellite in the Bering Sea water-ice transition zone during periods of off-ice winds. These were several tens of kilometers long, spaced from 6–12 km apart, and were generally oriented from 40–90° left of the surface wind direction. Formation of these features appears to be related to atmospheric convective processes; such features may he significant indicators of transition zone ice dynamics.

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J. D. Schumacher
,
T. H. Kinder
,
D. J. Pashinski
, and
R. L. Charnell

Abstract

Conductivity and temperature versus depth (CTD) and expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data taken during the ice-free seasons of 1975–77 define a structural front paralleling the 50 m isobath. This front forms a narrow transition separating a well-mixed coastal domain from a two-layered central shelf domain. In early spring, prior to frontogenesis, we believe that temperature and salinity are continuous across the 50 m isobath. Thus, the front does not result from the confluence of water masses; rather the front permits the evolution of different water masses following frontogenesis. The changing balance between buoyant energy input and tidal stirring determines the frontal location and the frontal width correlates with bottom slope. The front is similar to those reported around the British Isles, but we find that in the Bering Sea the salinity distribution is important, that the ice cover influences the seasonal evolution of the hydrographic structure, and that the geostrophic (baroclinic) speed differences across the front are small (<2 cm s−1). We hypothesize that frontogenesis depends critically on positive feedback between stratification and mixing.

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