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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-123
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-123
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 09 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 09 Dec 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Circulation of the European Northwest Shelf: A Lagrangian perspective

Marcel Ricker1 and Emil V. Stanev2 Marcel Ricker and Emil V. Stanev
  • 1University of Oldenburg, Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment, Carl-von-Ossietzky-Straße 9–11, 26111 Oldenburg, Germany
  • 2Institute of Coastal Research, Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Max-Planck-Straße 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany

Abstract. The dynamics of the European Northwest Shelf (ENWS), the surrounding deep ocean, and the continental slope between them are analysed in a framework of numerical simulations using Lagrangian methods. Several sensitivity experiments are carried out in which (1) the tides are switched off, (2) the wind forcing is low-pass filtered, and (3) the wind forcing is switched off. To measure particle accumulation, a quantity named the density trend is introduced. Yearly averages of the results in the deep ocean show no permanent particle accumulation areas at the surface. On the shelf, elongated accumulation patterns persist on yearly time scales, often occurring along the thermohaline fronts. In contrast, monthly accumulation patterns are highly variable in both regimes. Tides substantially affect the particle dynamics on the shelf and thus the positions of fronts. The contribution of wind to particle accumulation in specific regions is comparable to that of tides. The role of vertical movements in the dynamics of Lagrangian particles is quantified both for the eddy-dominated deep ocean and for the shallow shelf. In the latter area, winds normal to coasts result in upwelling and downwelling and very clear patterns characterising the accumulation of Lagrangian particles associated with the vertical circulations.

Marcel Ricker and Emil V. Stanev
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Marcel Ricker and Emil V. Stanev
Data sets

German Bight surface drifter data from Heincke cruise HE 445, 2015 R. Carrasco and J. Horstmann https://doi.org/10.1594/PANGAEA.874511

Marcel Ricker and Emil V. Stanev
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Short summary
The dynamics of the European Northwest Shelf and the surrounding deep ocean are analysed using both classical Eulerian and Lagrangian data from simulated particles. Focussing on the latter, a quantity named density trend measures particle accumulation. Yearly averages reveal no surface accumulation areas in the deep ocean and elongated patterns on the shelf mainly along fronts. Sensitivity experiments show the influence of tides and wind unveiling important vertical dynamics in coastal areas.
The dynamics of the European Northwest Shelf and the surrounding deep ocean are analysed using...
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