Bower Amy S.

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Amy S.

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  • Preprint
    Mesoscale eddies in the Gulf of Aden and their impact on the spreading of Red Sea Outflow Water
    ( 2010-11) Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H.
    The Gulf of Aden (GOA) in the northwestern Indian Ocean is the receiving basin for Red Sea Outflow Water (RSOW), one of the World’s few high-salinity dense overflows, but relatively little is known about spreading pathways and transformation of RSOW through the gulf. Here we combine historical data, satellite altimetry, new synoptic hydrographic surveys and the first in situ direct observations of subsurface currents in the GOA to identify the most important processes in the spreading of RSOW. The new in situ data sets were collected in 2001-2003 as part of the Red Sea Outflow Experiment (REDSOX) and consist of two CTD/LADCP Surveys and 49 one-year trajectories from acoustically tracked floats released at the depth of RSOW. The results indicate that the prominent positive and negative sea level anomalies frequently observed in the GOA with satellite altimetry are associated with anticyclonic and cyclonic eddies that often reach to at least 1000 m depth, i.e., through the depth range of equilibrated RSOW. The eddies dominate RSOW spreading pathways and help to rapidly mix the outflow water with the background. Eddies in the central and eastern gulf are basin-scale (~250-km diameter) and have maximum azimuthal speeds of about 30 cm/s at the RSOW level. In the western gulf, smaller eddies not detectable with satellite altimetry appear to form as the larger westward-propagating eddies impale themselves on the high ridges flanking the Tadjura Rift. Both the hydrographic and Lagrangian observations show that eddies originating outside the gulf often transport a core of much cooler, fresher water from the Arabian Sea all the way to the western end of the GOA, where the highest-salinity outflow water is found. This generates large vertical and horizontal gradients of temperature and salinity, setting up favorable conditions for salt fingering and diffusive convection. Both of these mixing processes were observed to be active in the gulf. Two new annually appearing anticyclonic eddies are added to the previously identified Gulf of Aden Eddy (GAE; Prasad and Ikeda, 2001) and Somali Current Ring (SCR; Fratantoni et al., 2006). These are the Summer Eddy (SE) and the Lee Eddy (LE), both of which form at the beginning of the summer monsoon when strong southwest winds blowing through Socotra Passage effectively split the GAE into two smaller eddies. The SE strengthens as it propagates westward deeper in the GOA, while the Lee Eddy remains stationary in the lee of Socotra Island. Both eddies are strengthened or sustained by Ekman convergence associated with negative wind stress curl patches caused by wind jets through or around high orography. The annual cycle in the appearance, propagation and demise of these new eddies and those described in earlier work is documented to provide a comprehensive view of the most energetic circulation features in the GOA. The observations contain little evidence of features that have been shown previously to be important in the spreading of Mediterranean Outflow Water (MOW) in the North Atlantic, namely a wall-bounded subsurface jet (the Mediterranean Undercurrent ) and submesoscale coherent lenses containing a core of MOW (‘meddies’). This is attributed to the fact that the RSOW enters the open ocean on a western boundary. High background eddy kinetic energy typical of western boundary regimes will tend to shear apart submesoscale eddies and boundary undercurrents. Even if a submesoscale lens of RSOW did form in the GOA, westward self-propagation would transport the eddy and its cargo of outflow water back toward, rather than away from, its source.
  • Preprint
    Discrete eddies in the northern North Atlantic as observed by looping RAFOS floats
    ( 2004-10-29) Shoosmith, Deborah R. ; Richardson, Philip L. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Rossby, H. Thomas
    RAFOS float trajectories near the 27.5 density level were analyzed to investigate discrete eddies in the northern North Atlantic with the objective of determining their geographical distribution and characteristics. Floats that made two or more consecutive loops in the same direction (loopers) were considered to have been in an eddy. Overall 15% (24 float years) of the float data were in loopers. One hundred and eight loopers were identified in 96 different eddies. Roughly half of the eddies were cyclonic (49%) and half were anticyclonic (51%), although the percentages varied in different regions. A few eddies were quasi-stationary for long times, one for over a year in the Iceland Basin, and many others clearly translated, often in the direction of the general circulation as observed by non-looping floats. Several floats were trapped in eddies in the vicinity of the North Atlantic Current just upstream (west) of the Charlie Gibbs (52ºN) and Faraday (50ºN) Fracture Zones, which seem to be preferred routes for flow crossing the mid-Atlantic ridge. Five floats looped in four anticyclones which translated southwestward away from the eastern boundary near the Goban Spur (47ºN-50ºN). These could have been weak meddies forming from remnants of warm salty Mediterranean Water advected northward along the eastern boundary.
  • Preprint
    Dispersal and population connectivity in the deep North Atlantic estimated from physical transport processes
    ( 2015-06) Etter, Ron J. ; Bower, Amy S.
    Little is known about how larvae disperse in deep ocean currents despite how critical estimates of population connectivity are for ecology, evolution and conservation. Estimates of connectivity can provide important insights about the mechanisms that shape patterns of genetic variation. Strong population genetic divergence above and below about 3000m has been documented for multiple protobranch bivalves in the western North Atlantic. One possible explanation for this congruent divergence is that the Deep Western Boundary Current (DWBC), which flows southwestward along the slope in this region, entrains larvae and impedes dispersal between the upper/middle slope and the lower slope or abyss. We used Lagrangian particle trajectories based on an eddy-resolving ocean general circulation model (specifically FLAME - Family of Linked Atlantic Model Experiments) to estimate the nature and scale of dispersal of passive larvae released near the sea floor at 4 depths across the continental slope (1500, 2000, 2500 and 3200 m) in the western North Atlantic and to test the potential role of the DWBC in explaining patterns of genetic variation on the continental margin. Passive particles released into the model DWBC followed highly complex trajectories that led to both onshore and offshore transport. Transport averaged about 1 km d-1 with dispersal kernels skewed strongly right indicating that some larvae dispersed much greater distances. Offshore transport was more likely than onshore and, despite a prevailing southwestward flow, some particles drifted north and east. Dispersal trajectories and estimates of population connectivity suggested that the DWBC is unlikely to prevent dispersal among depths, in part because of strong cross-slope forces induced by interactions between the DWBC and the deeper flows of the Gulf Stream. The strong genetic divergence we find in this region of the Northwest Atlantic is therefore likely driven by larval behaviors and/or mortality that limit dispersal, or local selective processes (both pre and post-settlement) that limit recruitment of immigrants from some depths.