Diagnosing the variability in temperature and velocity in the Middle Atlantic Bight
Author(s)Forsyth, Jacob Samuel Tse.
Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Magdalena Andres and Glen Gawarkiewicz.
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Observations of hydrographic and dynamical properties on the Middle Atlantic Bight shelf document strong variability at time scales spanning events that last a few days to century long trends. This thesis studies individual processes which impact shelf temperature and velocity structure, and quantifies the mean velocity conditions at the shelf break. Chapter 2 uses model output to study the dynamics that lead to the breakdown of summertime thermal stratification, and how the processes which reduce stratification vary from year to year. In summer, the atmosphere heats the surface of the ocean, leading to strong thermal stratification with warm water overlying cool water. During fall, strong storm events with downwelling-favorable winds are found to be the primary process by which stratification is reduced. The timing of these events and the associated destratification varies from year to year.In Chapter 3, the velocity structure of the New Jersey shelf break is examine, with a focus on the Shelfbreak Jet. Using 25 years of velocity measurements, mean velocity sections of the Shelfbreak Jet are created in both Eulerian and stream coordinate frameworks. The jet exhibits strong seasonal variability, with maximum velocities observed in spring and minimum velocities in summer. Evidence is found that Warm Core Rings, originating from the Gulf Stream and passing through the Slope Sea adjacent to the New Jersey shelf, tend to shift the Shelfbreak Jet onshore of its mean position or entirely shutdown the Shelfbreak Jet's flow. At interannual timescales, variability in the Shelfbreak Jet velocity is correlated with the temperature on the New Jersey Shelf, with temperature lagging by about 2 months. Chapter 4 focuses on the impact of Warm Core Rings on the velocity and temperature structure on the New Jersey shelf.Warm Core Rings that have higher azimuthal velocities and whose cores approach closer to the shelf are found to exert greater influence on the shelf's along-shelf velocities, with the fastest and closest rings reversing the direction of flow at the shelf break. Warm Core Rings are also observed to exert long-lasting impacts on the shelf temperature, with faster rings cooling the shelf and slower rings warming the shelf. Seasonal changes in thermal stratification strongly affect how rings alter the shelf temperature. Rings in summer tend to cool the shelf, and rings throughout the rest of the year generally warm the shelf.
Thesis: Ph. D., Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution), February, 2021Cataloged from the official PDF of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 119-126).
DepartmentJoint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences; Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Joint Program in Oceanography/Applied Ocean Science and Engineering., Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences., Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.