Seasonal climatology of wind-driven circulation on the New Jersey Shelf

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The spatial structure of the mean and seasonal surface circulation in the central region of the Mid-Atlantic Bight (New Jersey Shelf) are characterized using 6 years of CODAR long-range HF radar data (2002-2007). The mean surface flow over the New Jersey Shelf is 2-12 cm/s down shelf and offshore to the south. The detided root-mean-square (RMS) velocity variability ranges from 11 to 20 cm/s. The variability is on the order of the mean current offshore and several times that of the mean current nearshore. The Hudson Shelf Valley and the shelf break act as dynamical boundaries that define the New Jersey Shelf. The surface flow on the New Jersey Shelf depends on topography, seasonal stratification, and wind forcing. The flow is in the approximate direction of the wind during the unstratified season and more to the right of the wind during the stratified season. During the stratified summer season, the dominant along-shore upwelling favorable winds from the SW drive cross-shelf offshore flow. During the unstratified/well-mixed winter season, the dominant cross-shore NW winds drive cross-shelf offshore flows. During the transition seasons of spring and autumn, along-shore NE winds, often associated with storm events, drive energetic down-shelf, along-shelf flows. The surface transport pathways are either cross-shelf dominated during summer and winter or along-shelf dominated during the transition seasons. The residence time of surface Lagrangian drifters on the New Jersey Shelf ranged from 1 to 7 weeks with summer and autumn showing faster transport than winter and spring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberC04006
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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