Energetic plumes over the western Ross Sea continental slope Academic Article uri icon


  • Rapid descent of dense Drygalski Trough (western Ross Sea, Antarctica) shelf water over the continental slope, within 100 to 250 m thick benthic plumes, is described. Speeds of up to 1.0 m/s are recorded flowing at an average angle of 35 to the isobaths, entraining ambient Lower Circumpolar Deep Water en route. This process is predominant in determining the concentration and placement of the shelf water injected into the deep sea as a precursor Antarctic Bottom Water. Nonetheless, a 4-hour duration pulse of undiluted shelf water was observed at depth (1407 m) directly north of the Drygalski Trough, moving at around 90 degrees to isobaths, and at a speed of 1.4 m/s. Thus the export of Ross Sea shelf water to the deep sea is accomplished within plumes descending at moderate angle to isobaths, punctuated by rapid downhill cascades. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Gordon, A. L., Zambianchi, E., Orsi, A., Visbeck, M., Giulivi, C. F., Whitworth, T., & Spezie, G.

citation count

  • 98

complete list of authors

  • Gordon, AL||Zambianchi, E||Orsi, A||Visbeck, M||Giulivi, CF||Whitworth, T||Spezie, G

publication date

  • November 2004