On the effect of topography and wind on warm water inflow— An idealized study of the southern Weddell Sea continental shelf system
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
- Geophysical Institute 
An idealized eddy-resolving numerical model, with topographic features common to the southern Weddell Sea, is constructed to study mechanisms through which warm deep water enters a wide continental shelf with a trough. The open ocean, represented by a 1700 m deep channel, is connected to a 400 m deep shelf with a continental slope. The shelf is narrow (50 km) in the east but widens to 300 km at the center of the model domain. Over the narrow shelf, the slope front is balanced by wind-driven Ekman downwelling and counteracting eddy overturning, favoring on-shelf transport of warm water in summer scenarios when fresher surface water is present. Over the wide shelf, the Ekman downwelling ceases, and the mesoscale eddies relax the front. Inflow of warm water is sensitive to along-shelf salinity gradients and is most efficient when denser water over the wide shelf favors up-slope eddy transport along isopycnals of the V-shaped slope front. Inflow along the eastern side of the trough cannot penetrate the sill region due to potential vorticity constraints, while along the western trough flank, eddy-induced inflow crosses the sill and reaches the ice front. The warm inflow into the trough is sensitive to the density of the outflowing dense shelf water. For weaker winds, absence of the dense water outflow leads to a reversal of the trough circulation and a strong inflow of warm water, while for stronger winds, baroclinic effects become less important and the inflow is similar to experiments including dense water outflow.