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Open Access Cross-Shelf Exchange Associated With the Gulf Stream in the South Atlantic Bight: Direct Observations Using an Autonomous Underwater Glider


An autonomous underwater glider was deployed in March 2014 to sample the Gulf Stream and its adjacent shelf waters in the South Atlantic Bight, providing a new look at cross-shelf exchange associated with Gulf Stream dynamics. Observations collected over 4 weeks reveal significant cross-shelf exchange (up to 0.5 Sv) at the shoreward edge of the Gulf Stream, which was 2 orders of magnitude larger than estimates from long-term mean hydrographic conditions. Gulf Stream frontal eddies may have contributed to some of the largest fluxes of heat (0.5°C Sv) and salt (0.03 Sv g/kg) onto the shelf. We estimate that the largest upwelling event during the mission could have brought nitrate concentrations over 20 μM to within 125 m of the surface. This study demonstrates clear capabilities of autonomous underwater gliders for sampling in and near fast moving boundary currents to obtain unique and critical in situ observations effectively.

Keywords: Gulf Stream; South Atlantic Bight; cross-shelf exchange; underwater glider

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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