Characteristics and evolution of an Agulhas ring
Pérez-Hernández, M. Dolores
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A South Atlantic ring is studied through remote sensing altimetry, hydrographic stations, and drifters' trajectories. The ring's core was characterized by warmer and saltier Indian Ocean waters. At the time of the cruise, the ring's signature extended radially out to 124 km and vertically down to 2000 m, and its core absolute dynamic topography (ADT) exceeded the surrounding Atlantic Ocean waters in 0.4 m. The geostrophic velocities were anticyclonic with maximum speeds about 35 cm s−1 at 100 m and reaching negligible values near 4500 m. The rotational transport inside the ring was 33 Sv in the thermocline and intermediate layers. The drifters' data distinguish a 30-km core revolving as a solid body with periodicity near 5 days and a transitional band that revolves with constant tangential velocity, resembling a Rankine vortex. The ADT data identify the ring's track, showing that it was shed by the Agulhas Current retroflection in November 2009 and propagated northwest rapidly during the first 2 months (mean speed of about 10 cm s−1) but slowed down substantially (3–4 cm s−1) between March and July 2010, when it was last detected. The altimetry data also outlines the evolution of the ring's core ADT, radius, vorticity, and, through a simple calibration with the cruise data, rotational transport. In particular, the ring surface and vertical-mean vorticity decay with time scales of 373 and 230 days, respectively, indicating that most of the property anomalies contained by the ring are diffused out to the subtropical gyre before it reaches the western boundary current system.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 7049–7065, doi:10.1002/2017JC012969.
Suggested CitationJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 122 (2017): 7049–7065
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