Modelling The Tides Of The Southern Weddell Sea

Robinson, Allan Vincent (1996). Modelling The Tides Of The Southern Weddell Sea. MPhil thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f5c5

Abstract

Numerical modeUing presented in this thesis reproduces the tides of the Weddell Sea, a region where a significant proportion of a globally important water mass, Antarctic Bottom Water is generated. The presence of the Filchner and Ronne Ice Shelves in the southern Weddell Sea, and heavy pack ice conditions in the rest of the Weddell Sea have greatly restricted direct observations of the general oceanography. By producing tidal maps for the whole of the Weddell Sea which are in agreement with the available data, this study has contributed to the understanding of the general oceanography of this important region. In addition, the following conclusions can also be drawn. The presence of the ice shelves in the southern Weddell Sea has little effect upon the tides except for the reduction in water column thickness. This means that the value of the friction coefficient at the ice-ocean interface is no more important than the value of the friction coefficient at the sea floor. Ice shelf flexure at grounding lines has a significant but highly localised effect upon the tides, the effect not being seen at sites some distance from grounding lines. This suggests that ice shelf flexure is not a significant mechanism for tidal energy dissipation. The results from the tidal model were affected by changes to the water column, but indicated that given the correct bathymetry the model would produce accurate results. The model results also suggested that the most significant areas of tidal energy dissipation are the shallowest areas of the continental shelf. Because of the effect of the ice shelf on reducing the water column thickness this locates these areas on the continental shelf just “inshore” from the front of the Rorme Ice Shelf, though the continental shelf break was also significant.

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