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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans








Along-shelf transports across three cross-shelf lines on the continental shelf near Cape Hatteras have been calculated from moored current meter data over a continuous 24 month period in 1992-1994. The along-shelf convergence has been used to infer off-shelf export. Transport and transport convergence have been related to wind and Gulf Stream forcing and to variability in sea level at the coast. The along-shelf transport variability is primarily wind-driven and highly correlated with sea level fluctuations at the coast. Both winds and along-shelf transport exhibit a near-annual period variability. Along shelf transport is not well correlated with Gulf Stream offshore position. Along-shelf transport convergence is highly correlated with Gulf Stream position offshore, with a more shoreward Gulf Stream position leading increased along-shelf convergence by hours to a few days. Long-period variability of 14-16 months and 1-3 months is apparent in both Gulf Stream position and transport convergence. Variability in along-shelf convergence is poorly correlated with wind, wind convergence, or coastal sea level. A likely hypothesis accounting for the observed relationship between Gulf Stream position and along-shelf transport convergence is that the Gulf Stream is directly influencing cross-shelf export processes along the outer boundary of the study site. Despite predominantly convergent flow on the shelf at Cape Hatteras, brief periods of along-shelf divergence and shoreward cross-shelf transport exist (similar to 10% of the time just north of Cape Hatteras and similar to 34% of the time just south of Cape Hatteras during episodes of up to 3-8 days duration). Implied onshore flows of a few cm s-1 are tentatively identified in the moored current meter data for these periods. Satellite imagery for an extended along-shelf divergent period clearly suggests that shelf edge parcels could be advected a significant fraction of the way across the shelf.

Original Publication Citation

Savidge, D. K., & Bane, J. M. (2001). Wind and Gulf Stream influences on along-shelf transport and off-shelf export at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 106(C6), 11505-11527. doi:10.1029/2000jc000574

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