Synthesizing the Gulf Stream Thermal Structure from XBT Data

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  • 1 Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
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Abstract

Thirty-six XBT temperature profiles have been used in a parametric model introduced by Hendry to model the Gulf Stream's thermal structure at 65°W between 200 and 1200 dbar, with an rms residual error of 0.56°C. Velocity has been computed geostrophically relative to 1200 dbar, and has been included in calculating potential vorticity analytically from the model. The resulting potential vorticity section for 65°W has been compared with the analogous result from Hendry's parametric model at 59°W, as well as observed potential vorticity sections from 68° to 55°W. There is a significant feature in the potential vorticity structure at 65°W not found at 59°W-namely, a relative minimum in potential vorticity along isopycnals, centered at the Gulf Stream's axis and 350 dbar. The modeled potential vorticity sections are consistent with the observation including the downstream disappearance of this feature. The dynamical implications of these results are briefly discussed.

Abstract

Thirty-six XBT temperature profiles have been used in a parametric model introduced by Hendry to model the Gulf Stream's thermal structure at 65°W between 200 and 1200 dbar, with an rms residual error of 0.56°C. Velocity has been computed geostrophically relative to 1200 dbar, and has been included in calculating potential vorticity analytically from the model. The resulting potential vorticity section for 65°W has been compared with the analogous result from Hendry's parametric model at 59°W, as well as observed potential vorticity sections from 68° to 55°W. There is a significant feature in the potential vorticity structure at 65°W not found at 59°W-namely, a relative minimum in potential vorticity along isopycnals, centered at the Gulf Stream's axis and 350 dbar. The modeled potential vorticity sections are consistent with the observation including the downstream disappearance of this feature. The dynamical implications of these results are briefly discussed.

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