Surface water subduction during a downwelling event in a semi-enclosed bay

Barton, ED, Torres, R, Figueiras, FG, Gilcoto, M and Largier, J 2016 Surface water subduction during a downwelling event in a semi-enclosed bay. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, 121. 7088-7107.

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The Ría de Vigo is a bay strongly influenced by upwelling-downwelling cycles along the adjacent coast of NW Iberia. Moored and ship-board observations during September 2006 showed that subduction, initially associated with an estuarine circulation, strengthened when a strong downwelling circulation, resulting from northward wind over the coastal ocean, was generated in the outer ría causing ambient waters to be advected outward in the lower layer. Incoming surface waters confined the estuarine circulation to the shallow interior and displaced isopleths downward through the water column at ∼10 m d−1. As the estuarine circulation retreated inward, strong flow convergence developed between middle and inner ria in the layer above 15 m, while divergence developed beneath. The convergence increased through the period of downwelling-favorable wind at a rate consistent with the observed isopleth displacement velocities. The coefficient of turbulent diffusion Kt, from a microstructure profiler, indicated that mixing was strong in the estuarine circulation and subsequently in the downwelling zone, where localized instabilities and temperature-salinity inversions were observed. During the downwelling, concentrations of phytoplankton, including potentially harmful species, increased, especially in the middle and inner ria, as a result of inward advection, subduction and the ability of the dinoflagellates to maintain their position in the water column by swimming. In the course of the 5 day event, the water mass of all but the innermost ría was flushed completely and replaced by waters originating in the coastally-trapped poleward flow along the Atlantic coastline.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Estuary, subduction, phytoplankton, circulation, shelf dynamics, coastal upwelling
Subjects: Earth Sciences
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine System Modelling
Depositing User: Ricardo Torres
Date made live: 21 Sep 2016 09:53
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 09:57

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