Circulation, dispersion and hydrodynamic connectivity over the Scotian Shelf and adjacent waters

Yi Sui, Jinyu Sheng, Kyoko Ohashi, Yongsheng Wu

Abstract

A nested-grid ocean circulation modelling system is used in this study to examine the circulation of surface waters over the Scotian Shelf and its adjacent waters. The modelling system consists of a coarse-resolution (1/12°) barotropic storm surge (outer) model covering the northwest Atlantic Ocean, and a fine-resolution (1/16°) baroclinic (inner) model covering the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Scotian Shelf, and Gulf of Maine. The external model forcing includes tidal forcing, atmospheric forcing, surface heat fluxes, freshwater discharge, and large-scale currents specified at model open boundaries. The three-dimensional model currents are used to track trajectories of particles using a Lagrangian particle-tracking model. The simulated particle movements and distributions are used to examine the dispersion, retention, and hydrodynamic connectivity of surface waters over the study region. The near-surface dispersion is relatively high over western Cabot Strait, the inner Scotian Shelf, and the shelf break of the Scotian Shelf, while relatively low in Northumberland Strait. A process study is conducted to examine the physical processes affecting the surface dispersion, including tidal forcing and local wind forcing. The model results show that the tidal currents significantly influence the dispersion of surface waters in the Bay of Fundy.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18063/som.v2i2.321
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