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The Weddell-Scotia marginal ice zone: physical oceanographic conditions, geographical and seasonal variability
Muench, R.D.; Huber, B.A.; Gunn, J.T.; Husby, D.M.; Mountain, D.G. (1992). The Weddell-Scotia marginal ice zone: physical oceanographic conditions, geographical and seasonal variability. J. Mar. Syst. 3(1-2): 169-182
In: Journal of Marine Systems. Elsevier: Tokyo; Oxford; New York; Amsterdam. ISSN 0924-7963, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Muench, R.D.
  • Huber, B.A.
  • Gunn, J.T.
  • Husby, D.M.
  • Mountain, D.G.

    Physical oceanographic conditions were measured in the Weddell and Scotia Sea marginal ice zones (MIZ's) during 1983, 1986 and 1988. The field work encompassed spring, autumn and mid-winter periods and included retreating, advancing and steady-state ice edges. Observed upper ocean structures, which typify MIZ's and reflect input of low salinity water from melting ice, included low salinity upper layers, lenses and fronts. An upper mixed layer was always present and was generally more fully developed in autumn and winter than at other times of year. Conditions in the deeper waters reflected regional oceanographic processes and significant differences were present between the Weddell and Scotia seas. Weddell Sea Water is a major source of water for the southern Scotia Sea, however, the upper Scotia Sea was dominated by warmer, less saline waters from Drake Passage. The colder, denser Weddell water appeared to have mixed isopycnally with deeper water in the Scotia Sea, present there at depths exceeding 500 m. The Scotia Sea was dominated by strong gradients and energetic mesoscale features, with currents exceeding 50 cm/s. The northwestern Weddell Sea had, in contrast, current speeds well below about 5 cm/s and small to negligible lateral water property gradients. Our observations suggest that the Weddell western boundary current was weaker than has been estimated in the past. In addition, we found scant evidence of deep winter convection in the Scotia Sea, a process which has been hypothesized in the past to contribute to deep water formation. No evidence was found during winter 1988 in the Scotia Sea of the modified water known as Weddell-Scotia Confluence water.

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