Wind-Driven Circulation in a Shelf Valley. Part II: Dynamics of the Along-Valley Velocity and Transport Academic Article uri icon


  • AbstractThe dynamics controlling the along-valley (cross shelf) flow in idealized shallow shelf valleys with small to moderate Burger number are investigated, and analytical scales of the along-valley flows are derived. This paper follows Part I, which shows that along-shelf winds in the opposite direction to coastal-trapped wave propagation (upwelling regime) force a strong up-valley flow caused by the formation of a lee wave. In contrast, along-shelf winds in the other direction (downwelling regime) do not generate a lee wave and consequently force a relatively weak net down-valley flow. The valley flows in both regimes are cyclostrophic with O(1) Rossby number. A major difference between the two regimes is the along-shelf length scales of the along-valley flows Lx. In the upwelling regime Lx depends on the valley width Wc and the wavelength ?lw of the coastal-trapped lee wave arrested by the along-shelf flow Us. In the downwelling regime Lx depends on the inertial length scale |Us|/f and Wc. The along-valley velocity scale in the upwelling regime, given byis based on potential vorticity (PV) conservation and lee-wave dynamics (Hs and Hc are the shelf and valley depth scales, respectively, and f is the Coriolis parameter). The velocity scale in the downwelling regime, given by is based on PV conservation. The velocity scales are validated by the numerical sensitivity simulations and can be useful for observational studies of along-valley transports. The work provides a framework for investigating cross-shelf transport induced by irregular shelf bathymetry and calls for future studies of this type under realistic environmental conditions and over a broader parameter space.

publication date

  • April 2018