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Thermohaline circulation of shallow tidal seas


Hill, AE and Brown, J and Fernand, L and Holt, J and Horsburgh, KJ and Proctor, R and Raine, R and Turrell, WR, Thermohaline circulation of shallow tidal seas, Geophysical Research Letters, 35, (11) pp. L11605. ISSN 0094-8276 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1029/2008GL033459


The mechanisms controlling the temperature and salinity structure of shallow continental shelf seas have been understood for over thirty years, yet knowledge of what drives their large-scale circulation has remained relatively unknown. Here we describe a decade long programme of measurements, using satellite-tracked drifting buoys on the northwest European shelf, to draw attention to a striking picture of highly organised thermohaline circulation consisting of narrow, near surface, fast flowing jets. These are ubiquitous above sharp horizontal gradients in bottom temperatures and/or salinities. The circulation phenomena we describe are likely to be prevalent on all similar, wide, tidally energetic continental shelves including those off north-eastern China, Argentina and parts of the Arctic. The robust, repeatable observation of the key role of jets above bottom fronts results in a fundamental reassessment of how we view the dynamics of shelf seas. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences
UTAS Author:Proctor, R (Dr Roger Proctor)
ID Code:75277
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:80
Deposited By:Integrated Marine Observing System
Deposited On:2012-01-19
Last Modified:2012-01-19

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