Leakage of Barotropic Slope Currents onto the Continental Shelf

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  • 1 School of Ocean Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The effect of alongshore variation in continental slope steepness upon the on-shelf penetration of barotropic, slope-trapped currents is investigated using arrested topographic wave dynamics. Results are summarized by a leakage length scale Ly, = fsw2/r with f the Coriolis parameter, s the continental slope steepness, w the slope current width, and r the linear friction coefficient. Leakage is found to be enhanced if the steepness of the continental slope increases suddenly in the direction of current flow. The Newfoundland and Hebridean shelves are suggested as possible locations where this effect may be observed.

Abstract

The effect of alongshore variation in continental slope steepness upon the on-shelf penetration of barotropic, slope-trapped currents is investigated using arrested topographic wave dynamics. Results are summarized by a leakage length scale Ly, = fsw2/r with f the Coriolis parameter, s the continental slope steepness, w the slope current width, and r the linear friction coefficient. Leakage is found to be enhanced if the steepness of the continental slope increases suddenly in the direction of current flow. The Newfoundland and Hebridean shelves are suggested as possible locations where this effect may be observed.

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