Virginia Institute of Marine Science
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS
Observations across the continental shelf offshore from New Jersey in late summer 1976 show an intrusion of saline water at the mid level of the water column across the shelf edge front, which appears in density only as an offshore thickening of the pycnocline. This internal density field produces horizontal pressure gradient forces within the pycnocline in the onshore direction. These forces, in the linearized equation of motion with a constant eddy viscosity, drive a circulation which resembles a double Ekman spiral for internal pressure vertical distributions which are thin with respect to the Ekman depth. For thick pressure distributions, the circulation is geostrophic. The resulting flow pattern has no net crossshelf transport. For the continental shelf edge in the example, a northward geostrophic mid-level jet is predicted by the theory. Ekman depth, and thus the vertical coefficient of eddy viscosity, can be determined from hydrographic data describing an intrusion.
New Jersey, Atlantic, Continental Shelf, Geostrophic flow, Shelf edge fronts
Welch, Christopher S., "Mid‐level intrusions at the continental shelf edge" (1981). VIMS Articles. 296.