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Controls on circulation, cross-shelf exchange, and dense water formation in an Antarctic polynya


Snow, K and Sloyan, BM and Rintoul, SR and Hogg, AMcC and Downes, SM, Controls on circulation, cross-shelf exchange, and dense water formation in an Antarctic polynya, Geophysical Research Letters, 43, (13) pp. 7089-7096. ISSN 0094-8276 (2016) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

© 2016. American Geophysical Union

DOI: doi:10.1002/2016GL069479


Circulation on the Antarctic continental shelf influences cross-shelf exchange, Antarctic Bottom Water formation, and ocean heat flux to floating ice shelves. The physical processes driving the shelf circulation and its seasonal and interannual variability remain poorly understood. We use a unique time series of repeat hydrographic observations from the Adélie Land continental shelf and a box inverse model to explore the relationship between surface forcing, shelf circulation, cross-shelf exchange, and dense water formation. A wind-driven northwestward coastal current, set up by onshore Ekman transport, dominates the summer circulation. During winter, strong buoyancy loss creates dense shelf water. This dense water flows off the shelf, with a compensating on-shelf flow that is an order of magnitude larger in winter than in summer. The results demonstrate the importance of winter buoyancy loss in driving the shelf circulation and cross-shelf exchange, as well as dense water mass formation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Southern Ocean, bottom water, shelf circulation
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Management of Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
Objective Field:Antarctic and Southern Ocean oceanic processes
UTAS Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
UTAS Author:Downes, SM (Dr Stephanie Downes)
ID Code:113774
Year Published:2016
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2017-01-19
Last Modified:2017-11-01
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