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A Review of the Role of Submarine Canyons in Deep-ocean Exchange with the Shelf : Volume 6, Issue 2 (03/07/2009)

By Allen, S. E.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004021049
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 38
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: A Review of the Role of Submarine Canyons in Deep-ocean Exchange with the Shelf : Volume 6, Issue 2 (03/07/2009)  
Author: Allen, S. E.
Volume: Vol. 6, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Ocean, Science
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection, Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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De Madron, X. D., & Allen, S. E. (2009). A Review of the Role of Submarine Canyons in Deep-ocean Exchange with the Shelf : Volume 6, Issue 2 (03/07/2009). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Earth and Ocean Science, University of British Columbia, 6339 Stores Rd, Vancouver V6T 1Z4, Canada. Cross shelf-break exchange is limited by the tendency of geostrophic flow to follow bathymetric contours, not cross them. However, small scale topography, such as canyons, can reduce the local lengthscale of the flow and increase the local Rossby number. These higher Rossby numbers mean the flow is no longer purely geostrophic and significant cross-isobath flow can occur. This cross-isobath flow includes both upwelling and downwelling due to wind-driven shelf currents and the strong cascading flows of dense shelf-water into the ocean. Tidal currents usually run primarily parallel to the shelf-break topography. Canyons cut across these flows and thus are often regions of generation of strong baroclinic tides and internal waves. Canyons can also focus internal waves. Both processes lead to greatly elevated levels of mixing. Thus, through both advection and mixing processes, canyons can enhance Deep Ocean Shelf Exchange. Here we review the state of the science describing the dynamics of the flows and suggest further areas of research, particularly into quantifying fluxes of nutrients and carbon as well as heat and salt through canyons.

A review of the role of submarine canyons in deep-ocean exchange with the shelf

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