Structure of Near-Surface Currents East of Barbados

K. L. Warsh Dept. of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee

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K. L. Echternacht Dept. of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee

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M. Garstang Dept. of Oceanography, Florida State University, Tallahassee

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Abstract

Currents at 25 m at 13.14N, 59.20W were measured from 2 July 1968 through 30 August 1968. The current meter was attached to a stable spar buoy and the position of the buoy monitored with radar based on Barbados. Mean currents were 20 cm set−1. Current direction varied from westerly, to southerly, and then to northerly over the period. Strong semidiurnal current variations were observed. Oscillations corresponding to the inertial period for this latitude are clearly observed; the intensity of these oscillations is modulated at a period near four days, corresponding to a similar near-periodicity in atmospheric disturbances. Measurements and analysis suggest an interaction between variations in the basic ocean surface currents and impulses due to identifiable atmospheric systems.

Abstract

Currents at 25 m at 13.14N, 59.20W were measured from 2 July 1968 through 30 August 1968. The current meter was attached to a stable spar buoy and the position of the buoy monitored with radar based on Barbados. Mean currents were 20 cm set−1. Current direction varied from westerly, to southerly, and then to northerly over the period. Strong semidiurnal current variations were observed. Oscillations corresponding to the inertial period for this latitude are clearly observed; the intensity of these oscillations is modulated at a period near four days, corresponding to a similar near-periodicity in atmospheric disturbances. Measurements and analysis suggest an interaction between variations in the basic ocean surface currents and impulses due to identifiable atmospheric systems.

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