Laboratory experiments and observations of cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies impinging on an island
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Laboratory experiments are conducted to investigate the interactions of self-propagating barotropic cyclones and baroclinic anticyclones with an island. Results are interpreted in the context of observations around Okinawa Island, Japan, where ubiquitous arrivals of cyclones and anticyclones on the southeastern side of the island influence the flow around it, thereby impacting both the Ryukyu Current's and the Kuroshio's transport. In the laboratory, baroclinic anticyclones generate a buoyant current that flows clockwise around an island whereas barotropic cyclones generate a counterclockwise current. In both cases, the interaction is governed by conservation of circulation Γ around the island, which establishes a balance between the dissipation along the island in contact with the eddy and the dissipation along the island in contact with the generated current. Laboratory results and scaling analysis suggest that the interaction between an anticyclone (cyclone) and Okinawa Island should result in an instantaneous increase (decrease) of the Ryukyu Current transport and a delayed increase (decrease) of the Kuroshio transport. The estimated delays are in good agreement with those obtained with field measurements suggesting that the dynamics at play in the laboratory may be relevant for the flow around Okinawa Island.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research 118 (2013): 762–773, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20081.
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