On the Continuity of Mean Flow between the Scotian Shelf and the Middle Atlantic Bight

David C. Chapman Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543

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John A. Barth Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543

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Robert C. Beardsley Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, MA 02543

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Richard G. Fairbanks Lamount-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964

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Abstract

Oxygen-isotope tracer data combined with results from two linear barotropic coastal models are used to argue that the observed equatorward mean alongshelf flow in the Middle Atlantic Bight is a downstream extension of the mean alongshelf flow over the Scotian Shelf. Qualitative agreement between model results and observations supports the concept that the alongshelf pressure gradient associated with the mean alongshelf flow in the Middle Atlantic Bight has an upstream or downstream and not an offshelf origin. The role of the local large-scale general circulation is apparently to help keep the shelf water on the shelf rather than to drive the shelf mean flow.

Abstract

Oxygen-isotope tracer data combined with results from two linear barotropic coastal models are used to argue that the observed equatorward mean alongshelf flow in the Middle Atlantic Bight is a downstream extension of the mean alongshelf flow over the Scotian Shelf. Qualitative agreement between model results and observations supports the concept that the alongshelf pressure gradient associated with the mean alongshelf flow in the Middle Atlantic Bight has an upstream or downstream and not an offshelf origin. The role of the local large-scale general circulation is apparently to help keep the shelf water on the shelf rather than to drive the shelf mean flow.

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