A Long-Lasting Mode Water Vortex in the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

Type Article
Date 2009-03
Language English
Author(s) Reverdin Gilles1, Gascard Jean-Claude, Le Cann Bernard2, Prieur Loic3, Assenbaum Michel4, Lherminier PascaleORCID2
Affiliation(s) 1 : Univ Paris 06, LOCEAN, UMR7159, CNRS IRD MNHN, F-75252 Paris 5, France.
2 : UFR Sci, CNRS IFREMER UBO, UMR6523, LPO, Brest, France.
3 : UPMC, LOV, UMR7093, CNRS, Villefranche Sur Mer, France.
4 : CNES CNRS UPS IRD, UMR5566, LEGOS BRESM, Toulouse, France.
Source Journal of Physical Oceanography (0022-3670) (American Meteorological Society), 2009-03 , Vol. 39 , N. 3 , P. 536-558
DOI 10.1175/2008JPO3970.1
WOS© Times Cited 7
Abstract An anticyclonic mode water vortex and its environment were investigated from November 2000 to September 2001 in the northeast Atlantic (near 43.5 degrees N, 15 degrees-19 degrees W) with neutrally buoyant drifting floats, moored current meters, satellite altimetric sea surface height, and several hydrological surveys and sections. These observations reveal a coherent inner core (similar to 0 km in diameter) made of very oxygenated northeast Atlantic central waters (11 degrees-12.7 degrees C and 35.5-35.7 on the 1978 practical salinity scale) from 150 m down to about 750-m depth. The core presents high relative vorticity (up to approximately -0.5 times the Coriolis frequency f) within at least 10 km of its center, near 400-700 m. Peak velocity along the core rim is located deeper than 600 m bordering the deepest and densest (sigma(theta) = 27.175 kg m(-3)) northeast Atlantic mode water found during the Programme Ocean Multidisciplinaire Meso Echelle (POMME) project. This water likely originates north of 47 degrees N, where it could have been in contact with the sea surface in early 1999. Below the core, large near-inertial internal waves are found. At least during spring and summer 2001, the core was embedded in a much larger anticyclonic eddy that extends to 100 km from its center, with azimuthal velocity decreasing from the sea surface to 1500 m. This eddy does not trap floats for a long time and is associated with a sea level anomaly on the order of 10 cm. From January through August 2001, both the core and the larger eddy moved anticyclonically around a shallow part of the Azores-Biscay ridge. The core trajectory also exhibits smaller anticyclonic loops on shorter time scales, suggesting that at least at times it is not located at the center of the larger eddy.
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