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Mesoscale Eddy Dynamics observed with 15 years of altimetric data

Rosemary Morrow(1)

(1) LEGOS, 18 av. E. Belin, 31401 Toulouse Cedex 9, France


Over the last 15 years, great progress has been made in our understanding of mesoscale processes due to the unprecedented space-time coverage of satellite altimetry. The most striking discoveries concern the mid to high latitude band where the historical in-situ data sets are more sparse. This paper will present a brief review of our improved understanding of mesoscale eddy characteristics, including the distribution and seasonal and interannual variations of eddy kinetic energy and eddy momentum flux; techniques for tracking mesoscale eddies and Rossby waves with altimetry and for monitoring their propagation pathways and decay. Using a combination of in-situ data and surface monitoring from altimetry, estimates of eddy heat, salt and momentum fluxes can be made. We examine these eddy fluxes in certain regional sites in the Indian sector of the Southern Ocean where in-situ measurements exist, from repeat hydrographic campaigns or research cruises, or the newly deployed ARGO profiling float array. The interaction of mesoscale eddies with the mean circulation, and their role in cross-frontal mixing, will also be examined with the combination of altimetry and in-situ data along the Subantarctic Front.


Full paper


                 Last modified: 07.10.03