Surface-generated mesoscale eddies transport deep-sea products from hydrothermal vents
Movie S1: Daily objective analysis of sea level anomaly in the tropical East Pacific showing an initial period early in the study with little eddy activity followed by the development of predominantly anticyclonic mesoscale eddies during the winter in the Gulfs of huantepec and Papagayo off the coast of Central America. (6.575Mb)
Movie S2: HYCOM model output showing sea surface height (SSH) anomaly and bottom currents from to 15 Jan (year day 15) to 27 March 2005 (year day 86). Note the relatively weak bottom currents at the beginning of the time series, followed by strong currents in coherent structures as large sea surface height anomalies develop in the latter half of the time series. (5.916Mb)
Adams, Diane K.
McGillicuddy, Dennis J.
Thurnherr, Andreas M.
Rouxel, Olivier J.
German, Christopher R.
Mullineaux, Lauren S.
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Atmospheric forcing, which is known to have a strong influence on surface ocean dynamics and production, is typically not considered in studies of the deep sea. Our observations and models demonstrate an unexpected influence of surface-generated mesoscale eddies in the transport of hydrothermal vent efflux and of vent larvae away from the northern East Pacific Rise. Transport by these deep-reaching eddies provides a mechanism for spreading the hydrothermal chemical and heat-flux into the deep-ocean interior and for dispersing propagules hundreds of kilometers between isolated and ephemeral communities. Since the eddies interacting with the East Pacific Rise are formed seasonally and are sensitive to phenomena such as El Niño, they have the potential to introduce seasonal to interannual atmospheric variations into the deep sea.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2011. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science 332 (2011): 580-583, doi:10.1126/science.1201066.