Wind-Modulated Western Maine Coastal Current and Its Connectivity With the Eastern Maine Coastal Current
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)
Using a high-resolution circulation model and an offline particle tracking model, we investigated variations of the Western Maine Coastal Current (WMCC) and its connectivity with the Eastern Maine Coastal Current (EMCC). The models showed that the weak, broad, and sinuous WMCC is generally southwestward with an offshore and a nearshore core, fed by the extension of the EMCC and runoff from the Penobscot and Kennebec–Androscoggin Rivers, respectively. A sea-level dome can form offshore of Casco Bay in late fall and early winter as the northeastward alongshore wind sets up a seaward sea-level gradient from the coast to meet the shoreward sea-level gradient from Wilkinson Basin. Consequently, northeastward flows (i.e., the counter-WMCC) emerge on the inshore side of the dome. Both the circulation and particle tracking models suggested that the connectivity generally peaks twice annually, highest in winter and then secondarily in late spring or early summer. The former is concurrent with the most southwest offshore veering of the EMCC, while the latter is concurrent with the strongest EMCC. Moreover, the counter-WMCC can reduce the connectivity and result in year-to-year variations.
Li, Denghui; Wang, Zhengui; Xue, Huijie; Thomas, Andrew C.; and Etter, Ron J., Wind-Modulated Western Maine Coastal Current and Its Connectivity With the Eastern Maine Coastal Current (2022). JGR Oceans, 127(6).