On the characteristics of Circumpolar Deep Water intrusions to the west Antarctic Peninsula Continental Shelf Academic Article uri icon


  • Hydrographic and current velocity observations collected from March 2001 to February 2003 on the west Antarctic Peninsula shelf as part of the Southern Ocean Global Ecosystems Dynamics program are used to characterize intrusions of Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW) and Lower Circumpolar Deep Water (LCDW) onto the shelf and Marguerite Bay. UCDW is found on the middle and outer shelf along Marguerite Trough, which connects the shelf break to Marguerite Bay, and at another location farther south. UCDW intrudes in the form of frequent (four per month) and small horizontal scales (?4 km) warm eddy-like structures with maximum vertical scales of a few hundred meters. However, no evidence of UCDW intrusions was found in Marguerite Bay. LCDW was found in several deep depressions connected to the shelf break, including Marguerite Trough, forming a tongue of relatively dense water 95 m thick (on average) that reaches into Marguerite Bay through Marguerite Trough. A steady advective-diffusive balance for the LCDW intrusion is used to make an estimation of the average upwelling rate and diffusivity in the deep layer within Marguerite Trough, which suggest the LCDW layer is renewed approximately every six weeks.

publication date

  • May 19, 2009