University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography physical oceanographer David Ullman and University of Connecticut physical oceanographer Dan Codiga have studied the processes giving rise to a coastal current jet that forms in the Atlantic Ocean south of Block Island. Although the commonly accepted scientific view has been that the flow along the southern New England continental shelf is steady on seasonal timescales, recent collection and analysis of long-term current records as part of a National Oceanographic Partnership Program project carried out by URI and UCONN researchers suggests a contrary view.
In their study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, Ullman and Codiga use two years of current measurements from shore-based radar and in-water current profilers to describe the properties of the jet. The jet flows southwestward along the frontal boundary that separates the low salinity water emanating from Long Island Sound from open ocean water. By averaging the currents over monthly periods to filter out tidal and storm-driven effects, they found a striking seasonal variability, whereby the jet was most intense during summer and extremely weak in winter.
Analysis of water properties and meteorological data in the region showed that the variability of the jet arises from the interplay of freshwater outflow from estuaries and wind stress. Due to the earths rotation, outflows along the southern New England continental shelf, which are strongest in spring, produce westward flow. The predominantly eastward winds in this region, on the other hand, tend to drive eastward currents and this wind-driven flow is strongest in winter. The combined effect of these two forcing mechanisms produces strong westward flow when the outflow effect dominates during summer and weak flow when the two processes balance during winter. The winter weakening of the alongshore current jet is hypothesized to be associated with increased offshore transport of nearshore waters. The current mapping radars deployed for this study continue to operate from shoreline sites in Rhode Island and New York, providing a new capability to monitor coastal circulation in real-time over long time periods.
Lisa Cugini | EurekAlert!
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy