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Eddy-mediated transport of warm Circumpolar Deep Water across the Antarctic Shelf Break

  • Author(s): Stewart, AL
  • Thompson, AF
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The Antarctic Slope Front (ASF) modulates ventilation of the abyssal ocean via the export of dense Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW) and constrains shoreward transport of warm Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) toward marine-terminating glaciers. Along certain stretches of the continental shelf, particularly where AABW is exported, density surfaces connect the shelf waters to the middepth Circumpolar Deep Water offshore, offering a pathway for mesoscale eddies to transport CDW directly onto the continental shelf. Using an eddy-resolving process model of the ASF, the authors show that mesoscale eddies can supply a dynamically significant transport of heat and mass across the continental shelf break. The shoreward transport of surface waters is purely wind driven, while the shoreward CDW transport is entirely due to mesoscale eddy transfer. The CDW flux is sensitive to all aspects of the model's surface forcing and geometry, suggesting that shoreward eddy heat transport may be localized to favorable sections of the continental slope.

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