Document Type


Publication Date




Publication Title

Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans






20 pp.


A decade (2007–2016) of hourly 6‐km‐resolution maps of the surface currents across the Mid‐Atlantic Bight (MAB) generated by a regional‐scale High Frequency Radar network are used to reveal new insights into the spatial patterns of the annual and seasonal mean surface flows. Across the 10‐year time series, temporal means and interannual and intra‐annual variability are used to quantify the variability of spatial surface current patterns. The 10‐year annual mean surface flows are weaker and mostly cross‐shelf near the coast, increasing in speed and rotating to more alongshore directions near the shelfbreak, and increasing in speed and rotating to flow off‐shelf in the southern MAB. The annual mean surface current pattern is relatively stable year to year compared to the hourly variations within a year. The 10‐year seasonal means exhibit similar current patterns, with winter and summer more cross‐shore while spring and fall transitions are more alongshore. Fall and winter mean speeds are larger and correspond to when mean winds are stronger and cross‐shore. Summer mean currents are weakest and correspond to a time when the mean wind opposes the alongshore flow. Again, intra‐annual variability is much greater than interannual, with the fall season exhibiting the most interseasonal variability in the surface current patterns. The extreme fall seasons of 2009 and 2011 are related to extremes in the wind and river discharge events caused by different persistent synoptic meteorological conditions, resulting in more or less rapid fall transitions from stratified summer to well‐mixed winter conditions.


©2020. The Authors.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Original Publication Citation

Roarty, H., Glenn, S., Brodie, J. F., Handel, E., Nazzaro, L., Smith, M., Brown, W. S., Boicourt, W. C., Updyke, T., & Atkinson, L. (2020). Annual and seasonal surface circulation over the Mid Atlantic Bight continental shelf derived from a decade of high frequency radar observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125(11), 20 pp., Article e2020JC016368.


0000-0001-5738-5683 (Updyke), 0000-0003-2919-100X (Atkinson)


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