Estimating Geostrophic Shear from Seismic Images of Oceanic Structure

Sheen, Katy L. and White, Nicky and Caulfield, Colm P. and Hobbs, Richard W. (2011) Estimating Geostrophic Shear from Seismic Images of Oceanic Structure. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 28 (9). pp. 1149-1154. ISSN Online ISSN: 1520-0426 Print ISSN: 0739-0572 DOI

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We show that geostrophic vertical shear estimates can be recovered from seismic (i.e. acoustic) images of thermohaline structure. In the Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current forms a loop within the Falkland Trough before it flows northward into the Argentine basin. Seismic profiles which cross this loop show the detailed structure of different water masses with a horizontal resolution of O(10 m). Coherent seismic reflections are tilted in response to current flow around the Falkland Trough. Average slopes were measured on length scales large enough to ensure that the geostrophic approximation is valid (i.e. Rossby Number < 0.1). By combining shear estimates with satellite altimetric measurements and acoustic Doppler current profiles, geostrophic velocities can be calculated throughout the data volume. This technique for estimating geostrophic vertical shear from legacy seismic images yields useful information about the spatial and temporal variation of mesoscale circulation.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2011AREP; IA63;BPI;
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology
Volume: 28
Page Range: pp. 1149-1154
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2011 13:18
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:02

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