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Thermohaline circulation of shallow tidal seas

Hill, A.E.; Brown, J.; Fernand, L.; Holt, J.T.; Horsburgh, K.J.; Proctor, R.; Raine, R.; Turrell, W.R.. 2008 Thermohaline circulation of shallow tidal seas. Geophysical Research Letters, 35 (11), L11605. 10.1029/2008GL033459

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Abstract/Summary

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

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1029/2008GL033459
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Marine biogeochemical cycles
ISSN: 0094-8276
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: An edited version of this paper was published by AGU. Published (2008) American Geophysical Union. Not subject to US Copyright.
Additional Keywords: EUROPEAN CONTINENTAL SHELF; WESTERN IRISH SEA; FRONTS; GYRE; POLIRISH
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 16 Feb 2009 12:06
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5384

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