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Open AccessArticle

Anatomy of a Cyclonic Eddy in the Kuroshio Extension Based on High-Resolution Observations

College of Meteorology and Oceanography, National University of Defense Technology, Nanjing 211101, China
Southern Marine Science and Engineering Guangdong Laboratory (Zhuhai), Zhuhai 519082, China
School of Marine Sciences, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA
Oceanic Modeling and Observation Laboratory, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing 210044, China
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2019, 10(9), 553;
Received: 8 August 2019 / Revised: 11 September 2019 / Accepted: 14 September 2019 / Published: 16 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disentangling Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions, from Weather to Climate)
Mesoscale eddies are common in the ocean and their surface characteristics have been well revealed based on altimetric observations. Comparatively, the knowledge of the three-dimensional (3D) structure of mesoscale eddies is scarce, especially in the open ocean. In the present study, high-resolution field observations of a cyclonic eddy in the Kuroshio Extension have been carried out and the anatomy of the observed eddy is conducted. The temperature anomaly exhibits a vertical monopole cone structure with a maximum of −7.3 °C located in the main thermocline. The salinity anomaly shows a vertical dipole structure with a fresh anomaly in the main thermocline and a saline anomaly in the North Pacific Intermediate Water (NPIW). The cyclonic flow displays an equivalent barotropic structure. The mixed layer is deep in the center of the eddy and thin in the periphery. The seasonal thermocline is intensified and the permanent thermocline is upward domed by 350 m. The subtropical mode water (STMW) straddled between the seasonal and permanent thermoclines weakens and dissipates in the eddy center. The salinity of NPIW distributed along the isopycnals shows no significant difference inside and outside the eddy. The geostrophic relation is approximately set up in the eddy. The nonlinearity—defined as the ratio between the rotational speed to the translational speed—is 12.5 and decreases with depth. The eddy-wind interaction is examined by high resolution satellite observations. The results show that the cold eddy induces wind stress aloft with positive divergence and negative curl. The wind induced upwelling process is responsible for the formation of the horizontal monopole pattern of salinity, while the horizontal transport results in the horizontal dipole structure of temperature in the mixed layer. View Full-Text
Keywords: mesoscale eddy; 3D structure; eddy-wind interaction mesoscale eddy; 3D structure; eddy-wind interaction
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Zhang, Y.; Chen, X.; Dong, C. Anatomy of a Cyclonic Eddy in the Kuroshio Extension Based on High-Resolution Observations. Atmosphere 2019, 10, 553.

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