Time and frequency domain analyses are used to relate coastal meteorological data with 7 years of daily surface temperature and salinity collected at three coastal light stations; offshore of the mouth of Chesapeake Bay, Virginia, on Diamond Shoals, at Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and on Frying Pan Shoals, off Cape Fear, North Carolina. Salinity fluctuations at Diamond Shoals are highly correlated with alongshore wind stress, implying wind driven advection of the front between Virginia Coastal Water (VCW) and Carolina Coastal Water (CCW) across Diamond Shoals. The data collected at Diamond Shoals indicate that more than half the time there is significant encroachment of Mid Atlantic Bight water into the South Atlantic Bight around Cape Hatteras, contrary to the notion that VCW is entirely entrained into the Gulf Stream. In fact, VCW can appear as far south as Frying Pan Shoals, thereby extending across the entire North Carolina Capes inner to mid shelf. Temperature and salinity time series also indicate that water masses overlying Diamond Shoals respond quickly to cross-shelf winds. Cross-shelf wind stress is significantly correlated with surface water temperature at Diamond Shoals, for periods between 2 and 12 days. Changes in temperature can be brought about by wind-driven cross-shelf circulation and by wind-induced upwelling. Seasurface temperature satellite (AVHRR) imagery taken during the SEEP II confirm these concepts.
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