Report

Thermohaline Fine Structure in an Oceanographic Front from Seismic Reflection Profiling

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Science  08 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5634, pp. 821-824
DOI: 10.1126/science.1085116

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Abstract

We present acoustic images of oceanic thermohaline structure created from marine seismic reflection profiles across the major oceanographic front between the Labrador Current and the North Atlantic Current. The images show that distinct water masses can be mapped, and their internal structure imaged, using low-frequency acoustic reflections from sound speed contrasts at interfaces across which temperature changes. The warm/cold front is characterized by east-dipping reflections generated by thermohaline intrusions in the uppermost 1000 meters of the ocean. Our results imply that marine seismic reflection techniques can provide excellent spatial resolution of important oceanic phenomena, including thermohaline intrusions, internal waves, and eddies.

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