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Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales

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eddy fluxes

by OLVAC last modified May 03, 2015 04:21 PM

Eight years of altimetry and SURVOSTRAL and WOCE/SR3 hydrographic data were used to examine the formation, propagation and vertical characteristics of cold-core rings formed north of the Subantarctic Front, in the region south of Tasmania (Morrow et al., 2004). Most of these cold-core rings are formed from unstable meanders of the Subantarctic Front, and the interaction of the meanders with bathymetry appears to influence the eddy spawning. The interaction of a westward propagating cold-core eddy with an eastward propagating equatorward meander can also trigger a cold-core eddy spawning event. Hydrographic sections show that these eddies have cool, low-salinity cores reaching to at least 1500 m depth. During summer, their surface temperature signal is eliminated only 2-3 weeks after spawning, however their surface salinity signature is maintained for 2-3 months. We estimate that these cold-core eddies could contribute an annual heat deficit of -3.8 x1019 J, and an annual salt deficit of -1.6 x 1012 kg, and contribute to cooling and freshening the region north of the Subantarctic Front where mode waters form. The salt deficit is equivalent to that introduced by the northward Ekman transport, suggesting that eddies may play an important role in transporting low salinity water into the Subantarctic Zone.

eddy fluxes

SURVOSTRAL SSS (blue line) and SST (black line) in January 1994 (top panel). Also shown is the vertical temperature structure from XBT data (bottom panel). The Subantarctic Front occurs near 51.5°S. A cyclonic cold-core eddy around 49°S shows a clear drop in SSS.

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