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MARI/CCPO Seminar Series

Comparing the Impact of Arctic and Mid-Atlantic Submarine Canyons on Shelf-basin Exchange

Donglai Gong, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Shelf-break submarine canyons are common along many continental shelf systems around the world. They are formed and continue to be modified by a combination of geomorphological processes over a range of temporal scales. Many canyons have been shown to be highly biologically productive with rich biodiversity. The canyons also play a significant role in facilitating shelf-basin exchange of water masses, heat, salt, nutrients, and organic matter. In this talk, we will explore the circulation and transport associated with a few large submarine canyons in the Mid-Atlantic and the Arctic, including the Hudson Canyon, Washington Canyon, and Barrow Canyon. Recent observational studies using ships and gliders indicate that submarine canyons can dominate shelf-basin exchange flow over normal shelf-break regions, and in one case, it can serve as a key transport gateway between ocean basins. We will focus on how different forcing factors can affect canyon circulation/dynamics and identify topics for future investigations.