Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Environmental Studies (MES)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Houston Saunderson

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The Study of the ocean presents many challenges due to its vast size and the difficulty in representing such a system with the availability of few data measurements. The World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) is the largest oceanographic experiment ever conducted. Data collection has been completed and we are now in the analysis, interpretation, modeling and synthesis phases (AIMS). An analysis and interpretation of the North Atlantic Ocean was conducted using a subset of the WOCE data. In the pre-WOCE period between Apr-11-74 and Sep-03-84 a total of 272 records were obtained having a spatial range of 23.2˚- 60.2˚N and 9.2˚ - 71.8˚W. The WOCE dataset consisted of 653 records obtained between Mar-09-90 and Aug-19-99 and having a spatial range of 0.1˚ - 65.3˚N and 9.5˚ - 76.8˚W. Data rich areas included the eastern shore of North America, especially the Gulf Stream and its extension, and the west coast of Europe and the United Kingdom. Data poor areas were found predominately north of the equator between 5˚ and 15˚N. Shallow and intermediate depth water currents showed similar pathways between the two datasets, whereas deep water current meters did not. Near bottom flows showed the effect of bathymetry on deep water flows with acceleration of flow down the continental slope evident, this is due to a combination of slope and water density. Annual mean circulation was examined for the period 1991-1993 and revealed a steady sub-tropical gyre. Eastward movement of a large warm water core was evident in 1992, with a smaller warm water core moving northward in 1993. By combining vector plots, depth profiles, and flow statistics a more complete coverage of the ocean was established. A good representation of current flows at various depths was observed. Variability in the circulation revealed the formation of eddies, movement of deep water masses and a highly dynamic state of the ocean.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season