Time‐Lapse Acoustic Imaging of Mesoscale and Fine‐Scale Variability within the Faroe‐Shetland Channel

Dickinson, N. A. and White, N. J. and Caulfield, C. P. (2020) Time‐Lapse Acoustic Imaging of Mesoscale and Fine‐Scale Variability within the Faroe‐Shetland Channel. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. ISSN 2169-9275 DOI https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015861

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Abstract

We describe and analyze the results of a three‐dimensional seismic (i.e. acoustic) reflection survey from the Faroe‐Shetland Channel that is calibrated with near‐coincident hydrographic and satellite observations. 54 vertical seismic transects were acquired over a period of 25 days. On each transect, a 250‐‐400 m band of reflections is observed within the water column. Hydrographic measurements demonstrate that this reflective band is caused by temperature variations within the pycnocline that separates warm, near‐surface waters of Atlantic origin from cold, deep waters which flow southward from the Nordic Seas. Tilting of reflective surfaces records geostrophic shear between these near‐surface and deep waters. Measurements of temporal changes of pycnoclinic depth and of reflection tilt are used to infer the existence of an anticyclonic vortex that advects northeastward. Comparison with satellite measurements of sea‐surface temperature and height suggests that this vortex is caused by meandering of the Continental Slope Current. A model of a Gaussian vortex is used to match seismic and satellite observations. This putative vortex has a core radius of 20—30 km and a maximum azimuthal velocity of 0.3‐‐0.4 m s‐1. It translates at 0.01‐‐0.1 m s‐1. Within the pycnocline, diapycnal diffusivity, K , is estimaed by analyzing the turbulent spectral subrange of tracked reflections. K varies between 10‐5.7 and 10‐5.0 m 2 s‐1 in a pattern that is broadly consistent with translation of the vortex. Our integrated study demonstrates the ability of time‐lapse seismic reflection surveying to dynamically resolve the effects that mesoscale activity has upon deep thermohaline structure on scales from meters to hundreds of kilometers.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2020AREP; IA76
Subjects: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
08 - Green Open Access
12 - PhD
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015861
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2020 00:52
Last Modified: 02 Jun 2020 00:52
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4755

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