3D Structure of the Ras Al Hadd Oceanic Dipole

Type Article
Date 2022-06-29
Language English
Author(s) Bennani Yassine1, Ayouche Adam1, Carton XavierORCID1
Affiliation(s) 1 : Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale LOPS, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer IUEM, Universite de Bretagne Occidentale UBO, 29200 Brest, France
Source Oceans (2673-1924) (MDPI AG), 2022-06-29 , Vol. 3 , N. 3 , P. 268-288
DOI 10.3390/oceans3030019
Keyword(s) Ras Al Hadd, cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies, ARGO floats, AMEDA (angular momentum eddy detection and tracking algorithm), 3D structure, PGW outflow, Ekman pumping

In the Arabian Sea, southeast of the Arabian peninsula, an oceanic dipole, named the Ras Al Hadd (RAH) dipole, is formed each year, lying near the Ras Al Hadd cape. The RAH dipole is the association of a cyclonic eddy (CE) to the northeast, with an anticyclonic eddy (AE) to the southwest. This dipole intensifies in the summer monsoon and disappears during the winter monsoon. This dipole has been described previously, but mostly for its surface expression, and for short time intervals. Here, we describe the 3D structure of this dipole over the 2000–2015 period, by combining colocalized ARGO float profiler data (a total of 7552 profiles inside and outside the RAH dipole) with angular momentum eddy detection and tracking algorithm (AMEDA) surface data. We show first the different water masses in and near the RAH dipole. The presence of the Persian Gulf water (PGW) below 200 m depth is confirmed in both eddies. Arabian Sea high salinity water (ASHSW) is found exclusively in the AE; a layer of fresh and cold water is observed above 100 m depth in both eddies. By analyzing the potential density structures, we show that the CE has a surface-intensified structure while the AE is subsurface-intensified. The sea level anomaly shows a 0.04 m elevation above the AE and a 0.2 m depression over the CE. The CE has a faster geostrophic velocity, (vertical velocity, respectively) 0.6 m s−1 than the AE, 0.15 m s−1 (respectively, 3 m day−1 for the CE and 0.6 m day−1 for the AE). After presenting the vertical structure of the dipole, we show the dominance of the nonlinear Ekman pumping in the CE over the linear pumping affecting the dipole. As a consequence, we explain the CE’s longer lifetime by its intensity and shallowness, and by its sensitivity to the interaction with the atmosphere (in particular the wind stress) and with neighboring eddies. We examined the possible (co)existence of symmetric, barotropic, and baroclinic instabilities in both eddies. These instabilities coexist near the surface in both eddies. They are intensified for the CE, which suggests that the CE is unstable and the AE is rather stable or may need a long time to be unstable.

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