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The seasonal circulation and volume transport on the northwest European continental shelf: A fine-resolution model study


Holt, J and Proctor, R, The seasonal circulation and volume transport on the northwest European continental shelf: A fine-resolution model study, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 113, (C6) pp. C06021. ISSN 0148-0227 (2008) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1029/2006JC004034


In this paper the circulation of the northwest European continental shelf is investigated using the first year-long density-evolving simulation at shelf wide scales and sub-Rossby Radius resolution (∼1.8 km). A series of numerical experiments are conducted to distinguish between the wind-, density-, and oceanic-driven components of the flow. These demonstrate that, while all components have a role throughout the year, the density-driven component is particularly important during the summer and autumn months. The time evolution of the density field makes a significant contribution to the seasonal variation of volume transport on shelf wide scales and is persistent in direction; whereas the wind-driven volume transport acts on much shorter timescales and is more variable in direction. The importance of the oceanic forcing is demonstrated, representing tidal residuals and large-scale oceanic sea level (pressure) variation; this forcing drives a substantial component of the circulation throughout the year. Twenty six satellite tracked drifters deployed in the summer of 2001 are used for a direct validation of the model currents. The model current speeds are found to be accurate to ∼46% when averaged over ∼40 d, but tend to be too slow. The summer volume fluxes are compared with estimates in the literature showing good agreement, although there is a suggestion that the North Sea inflows are overestimated. Comparisons with the coarser resolution model used for boundary conditions demonstrate the importance of fine-resolution to the details of the frontal currents with consequences for modeling exchange processes and biological activity in these regions. 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:75278
Year Published:2008
Web of Science® Times Cited:74
Deposited By:Integrated Marine Observing System
Deposited On:2012-01-19
Last Modified:2012-01-19

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