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Matthias Lankhorst

Abstract

It is becoming increasingly recognized that the eddy field plays an important—possibly dominating—role for oceanic motions in many aspects (e.g., transport of properties and risk assessment in the case of extreme events). This motivates the study of individual eddy events. In the Lagrangian coordinate system, vorticity possibly associated with eddies appears in two forms: as shear vorticity between neighboring particles, and as curvature of the trajectory of a single particle. Typical field experiments in physical oceanography using surface drifters or subsurface floats do not reach data densities high enough to produce enough encounters of drifters to calculate shear vorticity between them. However, curvature in individual tracks is easily observed. This study presents a methodology that extracts segments from within a trajectory that are “looping,” which will be interpreted as a drifter being caught in an eddy. The method makes use of autoregressive processes, a simple type of stochastic processes, which easily enables a fit to the nonperfectly shaped trajectory data usually expected from field experiments. These processes also deliver frequency and persistence of the detected eddies by a very simple calculation, which makes the methodology highly suited for automatized scanning of larger datasets.

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Matthias Lankhorst and Walter Zenk

Abstract

The circulation of the northeastern Atlantic Ocean at intermediate depths is characterized by watermass transformation processes that involve Iceland–Scotland Overflow Water (ISOW) from the northeast, Labrador Sea Water (LSW) from the west, and Mediterranean Water from the south. Field observations were carried out with 89 eddy-resolving floats (RAFOS and MARVOR types). The data coverage achieved is remarkably high and enables a comprehensive study of the eastern basins between Iceland and the Azores. The trajectories show typical pathways of the water masses involved and the role that the complex bottom topography plays in defining them. The ISOW paths tend to lean against the slopes of the Reykjanes Ridge and Rockall Plateau. Westward escapes through multiple gaps in the ridge are possible, superimposed on a sustained southward flow in the eastern basin along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. LSW pathways leading to the eastern basins are subject to high variability in flow direction and eddy activity. In addition to a selection of characteristic trajectories, maps of the horizontal distributions of Lagrangian eddy kinetic energy and integral time scales are presented. These reveal distinct areas of intensified mixing in the Iceland Basin, as well as the sharp contrast between the subpolar and subtropical dynamics. A self-contained eddy detection scheme is applied to obtain statistics on individual eddy properties and their abundance. It is suggested that much of the intensified mixing can be related to cyclonic activity, particularly in the subpolar region.

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Changming Dong, Yu Liu, Rick Lumpkin, Matthias Lankhorst, Dake Chen, James C. McWilliams, and Yuping Guan

Abstract

When a drifter is trapped in an eddy, it makes either a cycloidal or a looping trajectory. The former case takes place when the translating speed is larger than the eddy spinning speed. When the background mean velocity is removed, drifter trajectories make loops. Thus, eddies can be detected from a drifter trajectory by identifying looping segments. In this paper, an automated scheme is developed to identify looping segments from Lagrangian trajectories, based on a geometric definition of a loop, that is, a closing curve with its starting point overlapped by its ending point. The scheme is to find the first returning point, if it exists, along a trajectory of a surface drifter with a few other criteria. To further increase the chance that detected loops are eddies, it is considered that a loop identifies an eddy only when the loop’s spinning period is longer than the local inertial period and shorter than the seasonal scale, and that at least two consecutive loops with the same polarity that stay sufficiently close are found. Five parameters that characterize an eddy are estimated by the scheme: location (eddy center), time (starting and ending time), period, polarity, and intensity. As an example, the scheme is applied to surface drifters in the Kuroshio Extension region. Results indicate that numbers of eddies are symmetrically distributed for cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies, mean eddy sizes are 40–50 km, and eddy abundance is the highest along the Kuroshio path with more cyclonic eddies along its southern flank.

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Shane Elipot, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Chris W. Hughes, Sofia Olhede, and Matthias Lankhorst

Abstract

The response of the North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC) to wind stress forcing is investigated from an observational standpoint, using four time series of overturning transports below and relative to 1000 m, overlapping by 3.6 yr. These time series are derived from four mooring arrays located on the western boundary of the North Atlantic: the RAPID Western Atlantic Variability Experiment (WAVE) array (42.5°N), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Line W array (39°N), RAPID–MOC/MOCHA (26.5°N), and the Meridional Overturning Variability Experiment (MOVE) array (16°N). Using modal decompositions of the analytic cross-correlation between transports and wind stress, the basin-scale wind stress is shown to significantly drive the MOC coherently at four latitudes, on the time scales available for this study. The dominant mode of covariance is interpreted as rapid barotropic oceanic adjustments to wind stress forcing, eventually forming two counterrotating Ekman overturning cells centered on the tropics and subtropical gyre. A second mode of covariance appears related to patterns of wind stress and wind stress curl associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation, spinning anomalous horizontal circulations that likely interact with topography to form overturning cells.

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Hemantha W. Wijesekera, Emily Shroyer, Amit Tandon, M. Ravichandran, Debasis Sengupta, S. U. P. Jinadasa, Harindra J. S. Fernando, Neeraj Agrawal, K. Arulananthan, G. S. Bhat, Mark Baumgartner, Jared Buckley, Luca Centurioni, Patrick Conry, J. Thomas Farrar, Arnold L. Gordon, Verena Hormann, Ewa Jarosz, Tommy G. Jensen, Shaun Johnston, Matthias Lankhorst, Craig M. Lee, Laura S. Leo, Iossif Lozovatsky, Andrew J. Lucas, Jennifer Mackinnon, Amala Mahadevan, Jonathan Nash, Melissa M. Omand, Hieu Pham, Robert Pinkel, Luc Rainville, Sanjiv Ramachandran, Daniel L. Rudnick, Sutanu Sarkar, Uwe Send, Rashmi Sharma, Harper Simmons, Kathleen M. Stafford, Louis St. Laurent, Karan Venayagamoorthy, Ramasamy Venkatesan, William J. Teague, David W. Wang, Amy F. Waterhouse, Robert Weller, and Caitlin B. Whalen

Abstract

Air–Sea Interactions in the Northern Indian Ocean (ASIRI) is an international research effort (2013–17) aimed at understanding and quantifying coupled atmosphere–ocean dynamics of the Bay of Bengal (BoB) with relevance to Indian Ocean monsoons. Working collaboratively, more than 20 research institutions are acquiring field observations coupled with operational and high-resolution models to address scientific issues that have stymied the monsoon predictability. ASIRI combines new and mature observational technologies to resolve submesoscale to regional-scale currents and hydrophysical fields. These data reveal BoB’s sharp frontal features, submesoscale variability, low-salinity lenses and filaments, and shallow mixed layers, with relatively weak turbulent mixing. Observed physical features include energetic high-frequency internal waves in the southern BoB, energetic mesoscale and submesoscale features including an intrathermocline eddy in the central BoB, and a high-resolution view of the exchange along the periphery of Sri Lanka, which includes the 100-km-wide East India Coastal Current (EICC) carrying low-salinity water out of the BoB and an adjacent, broad northward flow (∼300 km wide) that carries high-salinity water into BoB during the northeast monsoon. Atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) observations during the decaying phase of the Madden–Julian oscillation (MJO) permit the study of multiscale atmospheric processes associated with non-MJO phenomena and their impacts on the marine boundary layer. Underway analyses that integrate observations and numerical simulations shed light on how air–sea interactions control the ABL and upper-ocean processes.

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Molly Baringer, Mariana B. Bif, Tim Boyer, Seth M. Bushinsky, Brendan R. Carter, Ivona Cetinić, Don P. Chambers, Lijing Cheng, Sanai Chiba, Minhan Dai, Catia M. Domingues, Shenfu Dong, Andrea J. Fassbender, Richard A. Feely, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Bryan A. Franz, John Gilson, Gustavo Goni, Benjamin D. Hamlington, Zeng-Zhen Hu, Boyin Huang, Masayoshi Ishii, Svetlana Jevrejeva, William E. Johns, Gregory C. Johnson, Kenneth S. Johnson, John Kennedy, Marion Kersalé, Rachel E. Killick, Peter Landschützer, Matthias Lankhorst, Tong Lee, Eric Leuliette, Feili Li, Eric Lindstrom, Ricardo Locarnini, Susan Lozier, John M. Lyman, John J. Marra, Christopher S. Meinen, Mark A. Merrifield, Gary T. Mitchum, Ben Moat, Didier Monselesan, R. Steven Nerem, Renellys C. Perez, Sarah G. Purkey, Darren Rayner, James Reagan, Nicholas Rome, Alejandra Sanchez-Franks, Claudia Schmid, Joel P. Scott, Uwe Send, David A. Siegel, David A. Smeed, Sabrina Speich, Paul W. Stackhouse Jr., William Sweet, Yuichiro Takeshita, Philip R. Thompson, Joaquin A. Triñanes, Martin Visbeck, Denis L. Volkov, Rik Wanninkhof, Robert A. Weller, Toby K. Westberry, Matthew J. Widlansky, Susan E. Wijffels, Anne C. Wilber, Lisan Yu, Weidong Yu, and Huai-Min Zhang
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