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Ocean circulation and frontal structure near the southern Kerguelen Plateau: the physical context for the Kerguelen Axis ecosystem study


Bestley, S and van Wijk, E and Rosenberg, M and Eriksen, R and Corney, S and Tattersall, K and Rintoul, S, Ocean circulation and frontal structure near the southern Kerguelen Plateau: the physical context for the Kerguelen Axis ecosystem study, Deep-Sea Research Part II, 174 Article 104479. ISSN 0967-0645 (2019) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2018.07.013


Oceanographic observations from ships, floats and remote sensing are used to describe the ocean circulation and frontal structure from the southern Kerguelen Plateau to the Antarctic margin. The flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) is largely zonal upstream of the Kerguelen Plateau. The southern branch of the Polar Front and the northern branch of the southern ACC front (SACCF) are deflected to the north by the topography and cross the plateau through the Fawn Trough. The southern branch of the SACCF and the southern boundary of the ACC pass to the south of Banzare Bank, through the Princess Elizabeth Trough. These fronts turn sharply to the north on the eastern flank of the plateau, then retroflect to the south before continuing eastward. Satellite altimetry and float trajectories suggest the ACC regime to the east of the plateau is eddy-rich and characterised by extensive meandering of the ACC fronts, in contrast to the low eddy energy and zonal flow observed west of the plateau. The Antarctic Slope Current flows west along the upper continental slope, with hydrographic data indicating some of the flow turns offshore and feeds the Southern Boundary flow in the Western Boundary Current. Flow over the plateau itself is relatively quiescent and floats in this region have a long residence time (> 1 year). The regional circulation is closely associated with the distribution of biological productivity in surface waters, as revealed in satellite measurements of ocean colour, including high productivity in subpolar waters, along the eastern edge of the plateau and over the Antarctic continental shelf, moderate productivity over the plateau, and low productivity in ACC waters in the Fawn Trough and north of the SACCF.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Antarctic Circumpolar Current, Kerguelen Plateau, South Indian Ocean, ocean circulation, Southern Boundary current, polar front, Southern Antarctic Circumpolar Current front (SACCF), biological oceanography
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:Bestley, S (Dr Sophie Bestley)
UTAS Author:van Wijk, E (Ms Esmee van Wijk)
UTAS Author:Rosenberg, M (Mr Mark Rosenberg)
UTAS Author:Eriksen, R (Dr Ruth Eriksen)
UTAS Author:Corney, S (Dr Stuart Corney)
UTAS Author:Rintoul, S (Dr Steve Rintoul)
ID Code:130919
Year Published:2019
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Ecology and Biodiversity
Deposited On:2019-02-20
Last Modified:2020-07-27

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