U.S. Department of Commerce


Date of this Version



Published in Annals of Glaciology 33 2001.


Ship and iceberg drifts, along with data from modern satellite-tracked drifting buoys, portray generally northward flow in the southwest Ross Sea. Less is known, however, about the ocean variability in this region. Here we use Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Operational Linescan System (OLS) imagery to describe a cyclonically rotating gyre in Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica (75° S, 165° E). The image sequence is taken from an exceptionally clear, calm, period during winter 1998. Surface currents, derived from tracking drifting ice with a maximum cross-correlation algorithm, were found to be ~20 to 30 cm s-1. Based on scaling arguments, the observed currents appear to be best explained as an oceanic response to a rapidly changing, offshore, katabatic wind jet.