Generation mechanisms of mesoscale eddies in the Mauritanian Upwelling Region.

Dilmahamod, Ahmad Fehmi, Karstensen, Johannes , Dietze, Heiner , Löptien, Ulrike and Fennel, Katja (2022) Generation mechanisms of mesoscale eddies in the Mauritanian Upwelling Region. Open Access Journal of Physical Oceanography, 52 (1). pp. 161-182. DOI 10.1175/JPO-D-21-0092.1.

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Abstract

The physical processes driving the genesis of surface- and subsurface-intensified cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies originating from the coastal current system of the Mauritanian Upwelling Region are investigated using a high-resolution (~1.5 km) configuration of GFDL’s Modular Ocean Model. Estimating an energy budget for the boundary current reveals a baroclinically unstable state during its intensification phase in boreal summer and which is driving eddy generation within the near-coastal region. The mean poleward coastal flow’s interaction with the sloping topography induces enhanced anticyclonic vorticity, with potential vorticity close to zero generated in the bottom boundary layer. Flow separation at sharp topographic bends intensifies the anticyclonic vorticity, and submesoscale structures of low PV coalesce to form anticyclonic vortices. A combination of offshore Ekman transport and horizontal advection determined the amount of SACW in an anticyclonic eddy. A vortex with a relatively dense and low PV core will form an anticyclonic mode-water eddy, which will subduct along isopycnals while propagating offshore and hence be shielded from surface buoyancy forcing. Less contribution of dense SACW promotes the generation of surface anticyclonic eddies as the core is composed of a lighter water mass, which causes the eddy to stay closer to the surface and hence be exposed to surface buoyancy forcing. Simulated cyclonic eddies are formed between the rotational flow of an offshore anticyclonic vortex and a poleward flowing boundary current, with eddy potential energy being the dominant source of eddy kinetic energy. All three types of eddies play a key role in the exchange between the Mauritanian Coastal currents system and the adjacent eastern boundary shadow zone region.

Document Type: Article
Funder compliance: BMBF: 03F0815A
Keywords: Boundary currents; Eddies; Instability; Upwelling/downwelling
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Kiel University
Corresponding Author:
Corresponding Author Name
GEOMAR ID
Affiliation
Dilmahamod, Ahmad Fehmi
Dilmahamod, Ahmad Fehmi (Dilmahamod, A. Fehmi)
FB1-PO Physical Oceanography
Main POF Topic: PT2: Ocean and Cryosphere
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: AMS (American Meteorological Society)
Related URLs:
Projects: SFB754, REEBUS
Expeditions/Models/Experiments:
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2022 14:26
Last Modified: 22 Mar 2022 14:23
URI: https://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/54969

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