Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Oceanography



First Advisor

Dave Hebert


In the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) off the north east coast of the United States we studied a front that was observed to be trapped at the 50 meter isobath. This persistent wintertime feature has been called the Mid-Shelf Front (MSF) due to its location on the shelf. In 2007 three wintertime shipboard surveys (in mid-January, late February and early April) were conducted off the New Jersey coast to study this feature. An undulating towed vehicle collected high resolution conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) data while a shipboard Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) obtained concurrent velocities. We describe the hydrography of this front, show that the overall structure is in geostrophic balance, and compare these observations with several theorized models of frontogenesis. The first cruise in January has strong similarities to a bottom boundary layer trapping mechanism, while the second cruise in February may be in the process of a geostrophic adjustment after a strong mixing event. The early spring cruise in April shows signs of thermal stratification off shelf of the front beginning to influence the density structure, and only a weak front is observed.



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