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Seasonal warming of the Middle Atlantic Bight Cold Pool

Abstract

Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 941–954, doi:10.1002/2016JC012201.The Cold Pool is a 20–60 m thick band of cold, near-bottom water that persists from spring to fall over the midshelf and outer shelf of the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) and Southern Flank of Georges Bank. The Cold Pool is remnant winter water bounded above by the seasonal thermocline and offshore by warmer slope water. Historical temperature profiles are used to characterize the average annual evolution and spatial structure of the Cold Pool. The Cold Pool gradually warms from spring to summer at a rate of order 1°C month−1. The warming rate is faster in shallower water where the Cold Pool is thinner, consistent with a vertical turbulent heat flux from the thermocline to the Cold Pool. The Cold Pool warming rate also varies along the shelf; it is larger over Georges Bank and smaller in the southern MAB. The mean turbulent diffusivities at the top of the Cold Pool, estimated from the spring to summer mean heat balance, are an order of magnitude larger over Georges Bank than in the southern MAB, consistent with much stronger tidal mixing over Georges Bank than in the southern MAB. The stronger tidal mixing causes the Cold Pool to warm more rapidly over Georges Bank and the eastern New England shelf than in the New York Bight or southern MAB. Consequently, the coldest Cold Pool water is located in the New York Bight from late spring to summer.NSF Grant Number: OCE-13326662017-08-0

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