Response of subtropical shallow-water environments to cold-air outbreak events: Satellite radiometry and heath flux modeling.

Walker, N.D., Rouse L.J., and Huh, O.K.

Cold-air outbreaks induced chilling of shallow bay, bank, and shelf waters of southern Florida and the northern Bahamas was examined using satellite thermal infra-red measurements, in situ measurements, and a shallow-water heat flix model. Vast expanses of shallow waters are rapidly modified by the cold, dry continental air and high wind speeds characteristic of cold-front passages. Although water mass modifications are more rapid in shallow areas, prolonged effects are experienced in deeper shelf regions. Northerly winds accompanying the cold-air outbreak induce a net offshelf circulation, subjecting deeper regions to an inflow of chilled waters generated in shallowed areas. Absence of coral reef development along preferential routes for offshelf water movement suggests that these winter processes are a limiting influence to southern Florida and northern Bahamas reef distribution.

Ref: Continental Shelf Research, Vol. 7, pp. 735-757, Jan. 1, 1987

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