Explaining the Weddell Polynya - A large ocean eddy shed at Maud Rise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Satellite observations have shown the occasional occurrence of a large opening in the sea-ice cover of the Weddell Sea, Antarctica, a phenomenon known as the Weddell Polynya. The transient appearance, position, size, and shape of the polynya is explained here by a mechanism by which modest variations in the large-scale oceanic flow past the Maud Rise seamount cause a horizontal cyclonic eddy to be shed from its northeast flank. The shed eddy transmits a divergent Ekman stress into the sea ice, leading to a crescent-shaped opening in the pack. Atmospheric thermodynamical interaction further enhances the opening by inducing oceanic convection. A sea-ice - ocean computer model simulation vividly demonstrates how this mechanism fully accounts for the characteristics that mark Weddell Polynya events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1697-1700
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume292
Issue number5522
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001

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Ice Cover
Oceans and Seas
Computer Simulation
Convection

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Explaining the Weddell Polynya - A large ocean eddy shed at Maud Rise. / Holland, D. M.

In: Science, Vol. 292, No. 5522, 01.06.2001, p. 1697-1700.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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