Articles | Volume 8, issue 4
Research article
10 Jul 2012
Research article |  | 10 Jul 2012

Transport of warm Upper Circumpolar Deep Water onto the western Antarctic Peninsula continental shelf

D. G. Martinson and D. C. McKee

Abstract. Five thermistor moorings were placed on the continental shelf of the western Antarctic Peninsula (between 2007 and 2010) in an effort to identify the mechanism(s) responsible for delivering warm Upper Circumpolar Deep Water (UCDW) onto the broad continental shelf from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) flowing over the adjacent continental slope. Historically, four mechanisms have been suggested: (1) eddies shed from the ACC, (2) flow into the cross-shelf-cutting canyons with overflow onto the nominal shelf, (3) general upwelling, and (4) episodic advective diversions of the ACC onto the shelf. The mooring array showed that for the years of deployment, the dominant mechanism is eddies; upwelling may also contribute but to an unknown extent. Mechanism 2 played no role, though the canyons have been shown previously to channel UCDW across the shelf into Marguerite Bay. Mechanism 4 played no role independently, though eddies may be advected within a greater intrusion of the background flow.