Mesoscale eddies in the Subantarctic Front-Southwest Atlantic
Keywords:southwest Atlantic, mesoscale, eddies, transport, Falkland-Malvinas Current
Satellite and ship observations in the southern southwest Atlantic (SSWA) reveal an intense eddy field and highlight the potential for using continuous real-time satellite altimetry to detect and monitor mesoscale phenomena with a view to understanding the regional circulation. The examples presented suggest that mesoscale eddies are a dominant feature of the circulation and play a fundamental role in the transport of properties along and across the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The main ocean current in the SSWA, the Falkland-Malvinas Current (FMC), exhibits numerous embedded eddies south of 50°S which may contribute to the patchiness, transport and mixing of passive scalars by this strong, turbulent current. Large eddies associated with meanders are observed in the ACC fronts, some of them remaining stationary for long periods. Two particular cases are examined using a satellite altimeter in combination with in situ observations, suggesting that cross-frontal eddy transport and strong meandering occur where the ACC flow intensifies along the sub-Antarctic Front (SAF) and the Southern ACC Front (SACCF).
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