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Structure and variability of the Western Maine Coastal Current

January 1, 2005

Analyses of CTD and moored current meter data from 1998 and 2000 reveal a number of mechanisms influencing the flow along the western coast of Maine. On occasions, the Eastern Maine Coastal Current extends into the western Gulf of Maine where it takes the form of a deep (order 100 m deep) and broad (order 20 km wide) southwestward flow with geostrophic velocities exceeding 20 cm s -1. This is not a coastally trapped flow, however. In fields of geostrophic velocity, computed from shipboard-CTD data, the core of this current is roughly centered at the 100 m isobath and its onshore edge is no closer than 10 km from the coast. Geostrophic velocity fields also reveal a relatively shallow (order 10 m deep) baroclinic flow adjacent to the coast. This flow is also directed to the southwest and appears to be principally comprised of local river discharge. Analyses of moored current meter data reveal wind-driven modulations of the coastal flow that are consistent with expectations from simple theoretical models. However, a large fraction of the near-shore current variance does not appear to be directly related to wind forcing. Sea-surface temperature imagery, combined with analysis of the moored current meter data, suggests that eddies and meanders within the coastal flow may at times dominate the near-shore current variance. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2005
Title Structure and variability of the Western Maine Coastal Current
DOI 10.1016/j.dsr2.2005.06.019
Authors J.H. Churchill, N.R. Pettigrew, R. P. Signell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
Index ID 70027879
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center