A numerical investigation of the interannual-to-interpentadal variability of the along-shelf transport in the Middle Atlantic Bight

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A numerical simulation using the Regional Ocean Modeling System (ROMS) indicates that there was significant interannual-to-interpentadal variability of along-shelf transport and water properties over the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) from 2004 to 2013. To examine the relative contribution from local atmospheric forcing versus remote oceanic open boundary forcing to such low-frequency variability, we implement a suite of process oriented numerical experiments. Results show that the interannual variability is dominated by remote forcing from the open boundaries of the region rather than by local atmospheric forcing. The penetration of the Labrador Current into the region contributes to a significant increase of along-shelf transport in the winters of 2009 and 2010. By contrast, the anti-cyclonic mesoscale eddies associated with the Gulf Stream decrease the background along-shelf jet and, in certain cases, even reverse the along-shelf transport. In addition, the along-shelf transport appears to possess an interpentadal variation, i.e., weaker during 2004-2008 but stronger during 2009-2013, which is found caused by the migration of the Gulf Stream.

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Continental Shelf Research