Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental by Commission on Life Sciences Staff

By Commission on Life Sciences Staff

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Lukas, University of Hawaii, Honolulu). There are cases in which the temperature profile by itself (neglecting salinity) is clearly hydrostatically unstable. The highresolution salinity observations reveal that salinity controls both density structure and the often shallow mixed layer depth in this region. Hence the monsoonal rains may play a significant role by stratifying the upper ocean with fresher water that overlays a remotely subducted (or previously created) warmer and saltier mixed layer.

The dependence of stirring and mixing on the complex relationship between the Lagrangian and Eulerian spectra implies that turbulent mixing is scale-dependent: the inferred rate of mixing depends strongly on the range of scales that are resolved. In addition, turbulent diffusion processes do not always transport material at a rate proportional to the larger-scale gradient, nor is the flux vector necessarily parallel to the mean gradient. Although it is almost universal practice to model subgrid-scale exchange processes as a kind of diffusion, that practice may be inappropriate, especially in a region with strong and variable topography and density fronts.

The OSRA model is then used to complete predictions of the probability of oil-spill occurrence, hits on environmental resources and shoreline segments, and conditional impact probabilities, just as for lease areas of the contiguous United States. The contractors for Alaskan studies hence perform simulations for circulation and oil-spill trajectories. In Alaskan waters, simulations for tide, wind, and density-induced forcing are performed. Early contract efforts focused on tides as the principal forcing mechanism.

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