On the recent destabilization of the Gulf Stream path downstream of Cape Hatteras
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KeywordGulf Stream; Altimetry; Cape Hatteras; Middle Atlantic Bight; Deep Western Boundary Current; Line W
Mapped satellite altimetry reveals interannual variability in the position of initiation of Gulf Stream meanders downstream of Cape Hatteras. The longitude where the Gulf Stream begins meandering varies by 1500 km. There has been a general trend for the destabilization point to shift west, and 5 of the last 6 years had a Gulf Stream destabilization point upstream of the New England Seamounts. Independent in situ data suggest that this shift has increased both upper-ocean/deep-ocean interaction events at Line W and open-ocean/shelf interactions across the Middle Atlantic Bight (MAB) shelf break. Mooring data and along-track altimetry indicate a recent increase in the number of deep cyclones that stir Deep Western Boundary Current waters from the MAB slope into the deep interior. Temperature profiles from the Oleander Program suggest that recent enhanced warming of the MAB shelf may be related to shifts in the Gulf Stream's destabilization point.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2016. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 9836–9842, doi:10.1002/2016GL069966.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 43 (2016): 9836–9842
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