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Evidence of dense water overflow on the Ross Sea shelf-break

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2003

A. BERGAMASCO
Affiliation:
National Research Council, Institute for the Study of the Dynamics of Large Masses, 1364 S. Polo, I-30125 Venice, Italy
V. DEFENDI
Affiliation:
National Research Council, Institute for the Study of the Dynamics of Large Masses, 1364 S. Polo, I-30125 Venice, Italy
E. ZAMBIANCHI
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, Institute of Meteorology and Oceanography, via F. Acton 38, I-80133 Naples, Italy
G. SPEZIE
Affiliation:
Università degli Studi di Napoli “Parthenope”, Institute of Meteorology and Oceanography, via F. Acton 38, I-80133 Naples, Italy

Abstract

This paper presents the results of the analysis of hydrological data of a 5-day mesoscale experiment (53 CTD casts) conducted during the XIIIth Italian Expedition to Antarctica (1997–98 cruise) in the framework of the CLIMA (Climatic Longterm Interaction for the Mass balance in Antarctica) Project of the Italian National Programme for Antarctic Research (PNRA). The experiment site was chosen for studying the dense water overflow in relation to the shelf-break in the central Ross Sea, after a large-scale synoptic survey, aimed to detect the general hydrological characteristics of the basin. A classical θ/S analysis was carried out for better understanding of the shelf-slope connection and the interactions between the water masses of this zone: the Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW) coming from the oceanic domain and the Ice Shelf Water (ISW) spreading from the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) edge. Our results show the evidence of an overflow of dense water, originated on the continental shelf, on the shelf-break. This supercold water signal is found on the continental slope down to 1200 m depth. The shape of this tongue of modified ISW, whose thickness reaches up to 100 m, is very narrow, suggesting that the overflow occurs in very localized areas.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© Antarctic Science Ltd 2002

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