Interactions of Mesoscale Features with Texas Shelf and Slope Waters

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Marine Science


During April and May 1993, the typical south and southwestward directed flow over the Texas shelf interacted with current rings located just off the Texas shelf in the Gulf of Mexico. The rings, a cyclone/anticyclone eddy pair, were oriented such that water was transported onto the shelf between the rings and water was drawn from the shelf on the rings' offshore-directed limbs. A shelf convergence zone transported water to the shelf edge where some of the water became entrained between the cyclone/anticyclone pair. Active shelf-slope exchange such as that seen in the April-May 1993 episode may be a more typical example of synoptic shelf circulation tl;an the general circulation pattern suggested by averaging multiannual observations. Nutrient and particle distributions were influenced by the interactions of the shelf current with the rings. Where the cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies directed flow off the shelf, particles were transported off the shelf: Additionally, particles in the bottom nepheloid layer were transported off the shelf in the shoreward limb of the cyclone, even though currents in this limb were directed along the isobaths. Nutrient concentrations, hence nutrient fluxes, were generally low in near-surface waters everywhere in the study area. At mid-depth and in near-bottom waters, nutrient fluxes were highest near the cyclone because of higher current speeds in this feature and higher nutrient concentrations at depth. Copyright (C) 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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Continental Shelf Research





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