M_2 tidal dynamics in the Ross Sea

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Robertson, R. , Beckmann, A. and Hellmer, H. (2003): M_2 tidal dynamics in the Ross Sea , Antarctic Science, 15 (1), pp. 41-46 . doi: 10.1017/S0954102003001044
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In certain regions of the Southern Ocean, tidal energy is believed to foster the mixing of differentwater masses, which eventually contribute to the formation of deep and bottom waters. The RossSea is one of the major ventilation sites of the global ocean abyss and a region of sparse tidalobservations. We investigated tidal dynamics in the Ross Sea using a three-dimensional sigmacoordinate model, the Regional Ocean Model Systems (ROMS). Realistic topography andhydrography from existing observational data were used with a single tidal constituent, thesemi-diurnal M2. The model fields faithfully reproduced the major features of the tidal circulationand had reasonable agreement with ten existing tidal elevation observations and forty-twoexisting tidal current measurements. The differences were attributed primarily to topographic errors.Internal tides were generated at the continental shelf/slope break and other areas of steeptopography. Strong vertical shears in the horizontal velocities occurred under and at the edges ofthe Ross Ice Shelf and along the continental shelf/slope break. Estimates of lead formation basedon divergence of baroclinic velocities were significantly higher than those based on barotropicvelocities, reaching over 10% at the continental shelf/slope break.

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