On the surface circulation in the western Coral Sea and residence times in the Great Barrier Reef

Choukroun, Séverine, Ridd, Peter V., Brinkman, Richard, and McKinna, Lachlan I.W. (2010) On the surface circulation in the western Coral Sea and residence times in the Great Barrier Reef. Journal of Geophysical Research: oceans, 115. C06013. pp. 1-13.

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Surface velocity observations from satellite tracked drifters made between 1987 and 2008 were used to resolve the surface circulation of the western Coral Sea, west of 158°E, and the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). The mean surface current map depicts well the major circulation patterns of the region, such as the position of the north Vanuatu and north Caledonia jets (NVJ and NCJ) and the western boundary currents. The North Queensland Current (NQC) and the East Australian Current (EAC) are well defined, flowing at speeds greater than 50 cm s−1 to the north, south of 15°S and 19°S, respectively. The NQC/EAC is mainly formed by the NVJ/NCJ flows, respectively. The presence of the Queensland Plateau greatly affects the westward flow, causing a zone of weak and highly variable currents that extends from 15°S to 18°S between the Queensland Plateau and the GBR shelf. Of the 235 drifters that crossed the western Coral Sea, 75 entered the GBR. Analysis of the drifter trajectories inside the GBR reveals the presence of a northwestward circulation at speeds of 22 cm s−1 north of 18°S and 0.5 cm s−1 south of 18°S. Drifter travel times used to evaluate the water residence times within the GBR indicate residence times of a few weeks for most of the lagoon.

Item ID: 11860
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0148‐0227
Keywords: surface circulation, residence time, western Coral Sea
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2011 06:16
FoR Codes: 04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0405 Oceanography > 040503 Physical Oceanography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9611 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water > 961104 Physical and Chemical Conditions of Water in Marine Environments @ 100%
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