Circulation and Thermohaline Variability of the Hanna Shoal Region on the Northeastern Chukchi Sea Shelf

ying-chih.fang [ at ]


We analyzed velocity and hydrographic data from 23 moorings in the northeast Chukchi Sea from 2011 to 2014. In most years the eastern side of Hanna Shoal was strongly stratified year-round, while weakly stratified regions prevailed on the shelf south and west of the Shoal. Stratification differences cause differential vertical mixing rates, which in conjunction with advection of different bottom water properties resulted in seasonally-varying along-isobath density gradients. In agreement with numerical models, we find that bottom waters flow anticyclonically around the Shoal. Whereas most of the shelf responded barotropically to wind-forcing, there was a strong baroclinic component to the flow field northeast of Hanna Shoal, resulting in no net vertically-integrated transport on average. In contrast there is a net eastward transport from west of the Shoal, which implies convergence north of the Shoal. Convergence and along-isobath density gradients may foster cross-shelf exchange north of Hanna Shoal. Modal analyses indicate that the shelf south of the Shoal and Barrow Canyon responded coherently to local and remote winds, whereas the wind-current response around Hanna Shoal was less coherent. Barotropic topographic waves, of ~3-day period, were generated episodically northeast of the Shoal and propagate clockwise around Hanna Shoal, but are blocked from entering Barrow Canyon and are possibly scattered by the horizontally sheared flow and converging isobaths on the western side of the Shoal. Analysis of water properties on the western side of Hanna Shoal suggests that these include contributions from the western and southern portions of the Chukchi Sea.

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DOI 10.1029/2019JC015639

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Fang, Y. C. , Weingartner, T. J. , Dobbins, E. L. , Winsor, P. , Statscewich, H. , Potter, R. A. , Mudge, T. D. , Stoudt, C. A. and Borg, K. (2020): Circulation and Thermohaline Variability of the Hanna Shoal Region on the Northeastern Chukchi Sea Shelf , Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans . doi: 10.1029/2019JC015639

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