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Diagnosing the variability in temperature and velocity in the Middle Atlantic Bight

Jacob Forsyth, Ph.D., 2020
Magdalena Andres
Glen Gawarkiewicz
Observations of hydrographic and dynamical properties on the Middle Atlantic Bight shelf document strong variability at time scales spanning events that last a few days to century long trends. This thesis studies individual processes which impact shelf temperature and velocity structure, and quantifies the mean velocity conditions at the shelf break. The first chapter studies how the thermal stratification on the shelf is reduced during fall, and the timing of the destratification. Storms with winds in the downwelling-favorable direction reduce the stratification the most. In the second chapter, the mean structure of the Shelfbreak Jet is quantified in an Eulerian and stream coordinate framework. Furthermore, it is found that Warm Core Rings can influence the position of the Shelfbreak Jet, as well as reversing the flow over the shelf break. Chapter three investigates the influence of Warm Core Rings on the shelf and shelf break in greater detail. Rings that are faster and move closer to the shelf modify the velocity fields on the shelf more. The temperatures on the shelf are also modified by rings, with rings in summer cooling the shelf, and rings throughout the rest of the year warming the shelf.