Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2703-2719, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0245.1.
A new set of deep float trajectory data collected in the Gulf of Mexico from 2011 to 2015 at 1500- and 2500-m depths is analyzed to describe mesoscale processes, with particular attention paid to the western Gulf. Wavelet analysis is used to identify coherent eddies in the float trajectories, leading to a census of the basinwide coherent eddy population and statistics of the eddies’ kinematic properties. The eddy census reveals a new formation region for anticyclones off the Campeche Escarpment, located northwest of the Yucatan Peninsula. These eddies appear to form locally, with no apparent direct connection to the upper layer. Once formed, the eddies drift westward along the northern edge of the Sigsbee Abyssal Gyre, located in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico over the abyssal plain. The formation mechanism and upstream sources for the Campeche Escarpment eddies are explored: the observational data suggest that eddy formation may be linked to the collision of a Loop Current eddy with the western boundary of the Gulf. Specifically, the disintegration of a deep dipole traveling under the Loop Current eddy Kraken, caused by the interaction with the northwestern continental slope, may lead to the acceleration of the abyssal gyre and the boundary current in the Bay of Campeche region.
The authors were supported by the
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy
Management (BOEM), Contract M10PC00112 to
Leidos, Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina.
In situ oceanic observations
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