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Rapports et Procès-Verbaux des Réunions






Gulf Stream induced upwelling occurs along the length of the southeastern United States continental shelf break. Upwelling events are produced by northward propagating Gulf Streams frontal meanders and eddies and travel northwards with these features. Meanders and eddies occur throughout the year in a period band of 2-14 days; however, resultant upwellings can affect the shelf quite differently. During fall, winter, and spring, upwelling is restricted to the outer shelf by cross-shelf density distributions, but in the summer upwelled water may penetrate across as a subsurface intrusion if aided by upwelling-favorable winds. If water does penetrate across the shelf, it may become stranded, detached from its deep-water Gulf Stream source, and may reside on the shelf for many weeks. The mass of nitrate within stranded water masses has been observed to be over 2500 metrick tonnes nitrate-nitrogen covering an area of 2500 km2.

Gulf Stream upwelling-induced nutrient inputs dominate all other sources to the south atlantic bight (SAB) and have a profound effect of phytoplankton production. During the fall, winter, and spring, high phytoplankton, coincides with outer shelf upwelling, while in the summer production also occurs in the lower layer over the inner and middle shelf. Over one-half the phytoplankton production is considered “new” production.


© International Council for the Exploration of the Sea

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Original Publication Citation

Atkinson, L. P., Yoder, J. A., & Lee, T. N. (1984). Review of upwelling off the southeastern United States and its effect on continental-shelf nutrient concentrations and primary productivity. Rapports et procès-verbaux des réunions, 183, 70-78.


0000-0003-2919-100X (Atkinson)


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