Ocean Shelf Exchange

Mark Inall (SAMS), Marie Porter (SAMS), Joanne Hopkins (NOC), Mattias Green (Bangor) 

The continental shelf edge is a critical physical and biochemical gateway for exchange between oceanic and shelf seas with impacts on a global scale. 

Complex physical processes control the vertical and horizontal exchange and mixing of mass, energy, salt and heat across the shelf/ocean boundary. In temperate latitudes these processes have an important role in determining fluxes of nutrients and carbon, and help sustain the high productivity of shelf seas. In high latitudes freshwater processes on shelves influence the global overturning circulation. In polar latitudes heat transport is thought to play an order one role in ice sheet behaviour, with consequences for ice mass balance and global sea level. Poor resolution of shelf processes in current global models can cause inaccurate circulation estimates, inaccurate meridional heat and salt transport estimates, and poor residence time estimates for shelf seas. 

Important examples of exchange processes at the shelf edge include large scale wind driven flows and Ekman drainage, intermediate scale eddies and meanders, and fluxes driven by the internal tide. At the coast freshwater runoff and ice discharge, wind driven upwelling, eddies, filaments and jets also play important roles. 

In this session we invite contributions on all aspects of ocean/shelf exchange, and their impacts on all scales. Observational, modelling and theoretical studies that explore exchange processes and their impacts are welcomed.