Impacts of bottom corrugations on a dense Antarctic outflow: NW Ross Sea

R. D. Muench, A. K. Wåhlin, T. M. Özgökmen, R. Hallberg, L. Padman

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Abstract

Prominent seabed corrugations, axially oriented roughly down-slope, are present along the Antarctic continental slope. We use analytical and numerical model results to assess the potential impact of these corrugations on outflows of dense shelf water that contribute to Antarctic Bottom Water. Down-slope flow increases with increasing corrugation height and varies with along-slope wavelength. For parameters appropriate to the northwest Ross Sea, where heights and wavelengths are ∼10-20 m and ∼1.5 km, respectively, we estimate that the corrugations increase the down-slope transport of dense water, relative to the smooth bottom case, by ∼13%. Corrugations enhance entrainment and reduce along-slope speed of the dense outflow. Larger amplitude corrugations (∼100 m) observed in other regions may impact outflows elsewhere around the poorly mapped Antarctic continental margin. Our results emphasize the need to consider small-scale local topography when modeling dense outflows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL23607
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume36
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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