The Vertical structure of a Loop Current Eddy

The vertical structure of a recently detached Loop Current Eddy (LCE) is studied using in‐situ data collected with an underwater glider from August to November 2016. Altimetry and Argo data are analysed to discuss the context of the eddy shedding and evolution as well as the origin and transformation of its thermohaline properties. the LCE appeared as a large body of nearly homogeneous water between 50 and 250 m confined between the seasonal and main thermoclines. A temperature anomaly relative to surrounding Gulf's water of up to 9.7 °C was observed within the eddy core. The salinity structure had a double core pattern. The subsurface fresh core had a negative anomaly of 0.27 psu while the deeper saline core's positive anomaly reached 1.22 psu. Both temperature and salinity maxima were stronger than previously reported. The saline core, of Caribbean origin, was well conserved during its journey from the Yucatan Basin to the Loop Current and at least 7 months after eddy detachment. The fresher homogeneous core resulted from surface diabatic transformations including surface heat fluxes and mixing within the top 200 m during the winter preceding eddy detachment. Heat and salt excess carried by the LCE were large and require important negative heat fluxes and positive fresh water input to be balanced. The geostrophic velocity structure had the form of a subsurface intensified vortex ring.


Loop Current Eddies, Gulf of Mexico, gliders, vertical structure, mesoscale, vortex ring

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Meunier T., Pallas-Sanz E., Tenreiro M., Portela E., Ochoa J., Ruiz-Angulo A., Cusi S. (2018). The Vertical structure of a Loop Current Eddy. Journal Of Geophysical Research-oceans. 123 (9). 6070-6090.,

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