Bower Amy S.

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Amy S.

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  • Article
    Dominant circulation patterns of the deep Gulf of Mexico
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-03-01) Perez-Brunius, Paula ; Furey, Heather H. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Hamilton, Peter ; Candela, Julio ; García-Carrillo, Paula ; Leben, Robert
    The large-scale circulation of the bottom layer of the Gulf of Mexico is analyzed, with special attention to the historically least studied western basin. The analysis is based on 4 years of data collected by 158 subsurface floats parked at 1500 and 2500 m and is complemented with data collected by current meter moorings in the western basin during the same period. Three main circulation patterns stand out: a cyclonic boundary current, a cyclonic gyre in the abyssal plain, and the very high eddy kinetic energy observed in the eastern Gulf. The boundary current and the cyclonic gyre appear as distinct features, which interact in the western tip of the Yucatan shelf. The persistence and continuity of the boundary current is addressed. Although high variability is observed, the boundary flow serves as a pathway for water to travel around the western basin in approximately 2 years. An interesting discovery is the separation of the boundary current over the northwestern slope of the Yucatan shelf. The separation and retroflection of the along-slope current appears to be a persistent feature and is associated with anticyclonic eddies whose genesis mechanism remains to be understood. As the boundary flow separates, it feeds into the westward flow of the deep cyclonic gyre. The location of this gyre—named the Sigsbee Abyssal Gyre—coincides with closed geostrophic contours, so eddy–topography interaction via bottom form stresses may drive this mean flow. The contribution to the cyclonic vorticity of the gyre by modons traveling under Loop Current eddies is discussed.
  • Article
    Lagrangian perspective on the origins of Denmark Strait Overflow
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-08-01) Saberi, Atousa ; Haine, Thomas W. N. ; Gelderloos, Renske ; de Jong, Marieke Femke ; Furey, Heather H. ; Bower, Amy S.
    The Denmark Strait Overflow (DSO) is an important contributor to the lower limb of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC). Determining DSO formation and its pathways is not only important for local oceanography but also critical to estimating the state and variability of the AMOC. Despite prior attempts to understand the DSO sources, its upstream pathways and circulation remain uncertain due to short-term (3–5 days) variability. This makes it challenging to study the DSO from observations. Given this complexity, this study maps the upstream pathways and along-pathway changes in its water properties, using Lagrangian backtracking of the DSO sources in a realistic numerical ocean simulation. The Lagrangian pathways confirm that several branches contribute to the DSO from the north such as the East Greenland Current (EGC), the separated EGC (sEGC), and the North Icelandic Jet (NIJ). Moreover, the model results reveal additional pathways from south of Iceland, which supplied over 16% of the DSO annually and over 25% of the DSO during winter of 2008, when the NAO index was positive. The southern contribution is about 34% by the end of March. The southern pathways mark a more direct route from the near-surface subpolar North Atlantic to the North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW), and needs to be explored further, with in situ observations.
  • Article
    Assessment of numerical simulations of deep circulation and variability in the Gulf of Mexico using recent observations
    (American Meteorological Society, 2020-04-08) Morey, Steven L. ; Gopalakrishnan, Ganesh ; Pallás-Sanz, Enric ; Azevedo Correia De Souza, Joao Marcos ; Donohue, Kathleen A. ; Pérez-Brunius, Paula ; Dukhovskoy, Dmitry S. ; Chassignet, Eric P. ; Cornuelle, Bruce D. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Furey, Heather H. ; Hamilton, Peter ; Candela, Julio
    Three simulations of the circulation in the Gulf of Mexico (the “Gulf”) using different numerical general circulation models are compared with results of recent large-scale observational campaigns conducted throughout the deep (>1500 m) Gulf. Analyses of these observations have provided new understanding of large-scale mean circulation features and variability throughout the deep Gulf. Important features include cyclonic flow along the continental slope, deep cyclonic circulation in the western Gulf, a counterrotating pair of cells under the Loop Current region, and a cyclonic cell to the south of this pair. These dominant circulation features are represented in each of the ocean model simulations, although with some obvious differences. A striking difference between all the models and the observations is that the simulated deep eddy kinetic energy under the Loop Current region is generally less than one-half of that computed from observations. A multidecadal integration of one of these numerical simulations is used to evaluate the uncertainty of estimates of velocity statistics in the deep Gulf computed from limited-length (4 years) observational or model records. This analysis shows that the main deep circulation features identified from the observational studies appear to be robust and are not substantially impacted by variability on time scales longer than the observational records. Differences in strengths and structures of the circulation features are identified, however, and quantified through standard error analysis of the statistical estimates using the model solutions.
  • Article
    Deep eddies in the Gulf of Mexico observed with floats
    (American Meteorological Society, 2018-11-07) Furey, Heather H. ; Bower, Amy S. ; Perez-Brunius, Paula ; Hamilton, Peter ; Leben, Robert
    A new set of deep float trajectory data collected in the Gulf of Mexico from 2011 to 2015 at 1500- and 2500-m depths is analyzed to describe mesoscale processes, with particular attention paid to the western Gulf. Wavelet analysis is used to identify coherent eddies in the float trajectories, leading to a census of the basinwide coherent eddy population and statistics of the eddies’ kinematic properties. The eddy census reveals a new formation region for anticyclones off the Campeche Escarpment, located northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula. These eddies appear to form locally, with no apparent direct connection to the upper layer. Once formed, the eddies drift westward along the northern edge of the Sigsbee Abyssal Gyre, located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico over the abyssal plain. The formation mechanism and upstream sources for the Campeche Escarpment eddies are explored: the observational data suggest that eddy formation may be linked to the collision of a Loop Current eddy with the western boundary of the Gulf. Specifically, the disintegration of a deep dipole traveling under the Loop Current eddy Kraken, caused by the interaction with the northwestern continental slope, may lead to the acceleration of the abyssal gyre and the boundary current in the Bay of Campeche region.