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Dynamics of the Ningaloo Current off Point Cloates, Western Australia

Posted on 28 July 2011

TitleDynamics of the Ningaloo Current off Point Cloates, Western Australia
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsWoo, M, Pattiaratchi C, Schroeder W
JournalMarine and Freshwater Research
Date Published2006
KeywordsNingaloo, oceanography
AbstractThe Ningaloo Current (NC) is a wind-driven, northward-flowing current present during the summer months along the continental shelf between the latitudes of 22° and 24°S off the coastline of Western Australia. The southward flowing Leeuwin Current is located further offshore and flows along the continental shelf break and slope, transporting warm, relatively fresh, tropical water poleward. A recurrent feature, frequently observed in satellite images (both thermal and ocean colour), is an anti-clockwise circulation located offshore Point Cloates. Here, the seaward extension of the coastal promontory blocks off the broad, gradual southern shelf, leaving only a narrow, extremely steep shelf to the north. The reduction in the cross-sectional area, from the coast to the 50 m contour, between southward and northward of the promontory is ~80%. Here, a numerical model study is undertaken to simulate processes leading to the development of the recirculation feature offshore Point Cloates. The numerical model output reproduced the recirculation feature and indicated that a combination of southerly winds, and coastal and bottom topography, off Point Cloates is responsible for the recirculation. The results also demonstrated that stronger southerly winds generated a higher volume transport in the NC and that the recirculation feature was dependent on the wind speed, with stronger winds decreasing the relative strength of the recirculation.
Short TitleMar. Freshwater Res.
Refereed DesignationRefereed