Variability of Fronts and Features of Mesoscale Water Dynamics in the White Sea

Romanenkov D. A., Zimin A. V., Rodionov A. A., Atazhanova O. A., Kozlov I. E.

This paper presents the study of intraseasonal, synoptic and mesoscale dynamics of major hydrological fronts in the White Sea based on the high-resolution satellite and shipboard observations performed during 2009—2014. The correlation between the frontal dynamics and the features of the submesoscale structures distribution (short-period internal waves and small eddies) is found. To study the spatiotemporal variability of surface manifestations of fronts, the MODIS images acquired from Terra and Aqua satellites with a spatial resolution of about 1 km were analyzed. Analysis of the sea surface temperature and its gradient data obtained during the 2010 summer season revealed the features of the dynamics of plume, tidal and shelf-break fronts on synoptic timescales, as well as detected the areas of mesoscale frontal activity. Contact measurements of the thermohaline structure taken in the frontal areas in 2009, 2012, 2014 showed the relative importance of vertical and horizontal variations of the thermohaline structure under the influence of tide and wind. Surface manifestations of submesoscale structures were found as a result of the White Sea (the 2010 warm period) satellite radar images processing and analyzing. Among them there were 117 eddies of 1 to 12 km in diameter, as well as 190 packages of short-period internal waves, with the package width of 0.1 to12 km and leading wave`s crest length 2 to 89 km. The areas where the submesoscale structures were observed cover a large space of the sea, but more than half of structures were registered in/near the frontal zones. The factors that determine the features of spatial and seasonal distribution of small eddies and short-period internal waves in the areas of frontal activity are discussed.

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