Currents over the NW Atlantic Continental Margin

The Ocean Sciences Division (OSD) carries out field, analysis and modelling studies of the ocean currents and circulation in the NW Atlantic. Studies of currents over the continental slope and in the adjacent deep ocean are usually led by the Ocean Circulation Section, as part of OSD's Ocean Climate Variability research theme. The results of these studies are used in applications such as climate change, ecosystem variability, marine safety, and oil and gas exploration.

The ocean currents studies include:

Moored Current Measurement Projects

OSD carries out field studies in which current meters and other instruments are deployed on specially-designed subsurface moorings to record time series of oceanographic variability over periods from weeks to years.

Many of these studies have been supported by the federal Panel on Energy Research and Development (PERD).

A 2006-2007 study on Laurentian Fan was supported by NRCan's Canadian Climate Technology and Innovation Initiative (CCTII).

Since 2000, OSD has carried out multi-year moored measurement projects for ocean currents in areas of potential hydrocarbon activity on the Atlantic continental slope, in conjunction with PERD, CCTII and industry.

Since 2008, OSD has carried out moored measurement projects in conjunction with the Rapid Climate Change Program (RAPID) of the UK.

Moored measurement sites over the Atlantic Canadian slope and rise since 2000
Moored measurement sites over the Atlantic Canadian slope and rise since 2000

Final datasets from these projects are being made available through the Ocean Data Inventory (ODI) of OSD's Oceanographic Databases.

An Extremal Analysis of these and other multi-year time series from moored current measurements on the Atlantic Canadian continental margin is being carried out to intercompare current speeds among regions of oil and gas interest.

Currents and Circulation from Drifters

OSD participates actively in the International Argo program through both the deployment of, and analysis of data from, profiling Argo floats. See Argo Float Program. Averaged drift velocity at the subsurface parking depth (typically 1000m) of each float can be estimated from the positions of successive profiles to the surface (typically every 10 days).

As part of a project funded by CCTII, a Subsurface Drifter Velocities Database (SDVD) has been developed with an on-line web-query system. See SDVD. Drift velocities from Argo floats and World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) drifters in the Orphan Basin region are available.

For further information on these moored measurement and drifter projects, contact Dr. John Loder and Dr. Yuri Geshelin.