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Title: Shelf edge exchange and the influence on coastal oeanography
Author: Jones, Sam C.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5922 2257
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2016
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The shallow waters west of Scotland feature strong variability in water properties on a variety of temporal scales. While the region is known to be subject to both coastal and oceanic influences, the causes of variability are poorly understood. The limited characterisation of changes in coastal waters impacts our ability to explain the behaviour of coastal ecosystems, and predict their resilience to future climate scenarios. This thesis uses historical data in conjunction with recent cruises and a coastal mooring to investigate the causes of variability in the waters west of Scotland. Two new inter-annual salinity time series on the European shelf are developed. The spatial variability in salinity in shallow waters is greatest during winter and increases by a factor of four between the shelf edge and the coastline. At the shelf edge, new observations of the along-slope current suggest that it is stronger but less stable during winter, leading to a greater availability of oceanic water on the outer Malin Shelf. However unlike other documented shelf regions, shelf edge processes do not directly influence Scottish coastal water properties. A baroclinic current originating in the Irish Sea is the main influence near the Scottish coast during quiescent periods, but wind forcing dominates shelf processes during most winters, with prevailing winds tending to drive oceanic water towards the coast. While salinity in the Sea of the Hebrides is moderately correlated to wind, coastal salinity is sensitive to both advective processes and freshwater runoff. On inter-annual time-scales, salinity on the Malin Shelf is higher when the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is positive, whereas the northern Irish Sea is fresher during a positive NAO state. Salinity and flow pathways in Scottish coastal waters appear to be resilient both to changes in the Rockall Trough and a warming climate on decadal time-scales.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Scottish Association for Marine Science ; FASTNEt
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Coastal zone management ; Seawater ; Salinity ; Water currents