Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


URI oceanographer studies seasonal changes in coastal ’jet’ south of Block Island


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 earth’s 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.

"In addition to the scientific returns from this observational program, the routine monitoring of surface currents is expected to have considerable societal impact, especially in the realm of coastal search and rescue operations," said Ullman. "The use of real-time currents by U. S. Coast Guard search and rescue planning teams will significantly improve their ability to predict the trajectories of drifting boats or persons at sea."

Lisa Cugini | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>