The Loop Current: Observations of deep eddies and topographic waves.
Bower, Amy S.
Furey, Heather H.
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KeywordBottom currents; Eddies; Instability; Lagrangian circulation/transport; Mesoscale processes; Topographic effects
A set of float trajectories, deployed at 1500- and 2500-m depths throughout the deep Gulf of Mexico from 2011 to 2015, are analyzed for mesoscale processes under the Loop Current (LC). In the eastern basin, December 2012–June 2014 had >40 floats per month, which was of sufficient density to allow capturing detailed flow patterns of deep eddies and topographic Rossby waves (TRWs), while two LC eddies formed and separated. A northward advance of the LC front compresses the lower water column and generates an anticyclone. For an extended LC, baroclinic instability eddies (of both signs) develop under the southward-propagating large-scale meanders of the upper-layer jet, resulting in a transfer of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) to the lower layer. The increase in lower-layer EKE occurs only over a few months during meander activity and LC eddy detachment events, a relatively short interval compared with the LC intrusion cycle. Deep EKE of these eddies is dispersed to the west and northwest through radiating TRWs, of which examples were found to the west of the LC. Because of this radiation of EKE, the lower layer of the eastern basin becomes relatively quiescent, particularly in the northeastern basin, when the LC is retracted and a LC eddy has departed. A mean west-to-east, anticyclone–cyclone dipole flow under a mean LC was directly comparable to similar results from a previous moored LC array and also showed connections to an anticlockwise boundary current in the southeastern basin.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 49(6), (2019):1463-1483, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-18-0213.1.
Suggested CitationWHOI Hamilton, P., Bower, A., Furey, H., Leben, R., & Perez-Brunius, P. (2019). The Loop Current: Observations of deep eddies and topographic waves. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 49(6), 1463-1483.
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