Eddy kinetic energy of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre from satellite altimetry

K. J. Heywood, E. L. McDonagh

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Abstract

The surface eddy kinetic energy field of the North Atlantic subpolar gyre (40-65°N, 5-60°W) is studied using the altimetric satellites Geosat (1987-1988) and ERS-1 (1992-93). This is, on the whole, an area of low eddy activity; previous studies of the North Atlantic have usually concentrated on the highly variable Gulf Stream system. There is a close relationship between the eddy kinetic energy and the mean currents and that it is strongly constrained by the topography; the eddy field occurs in deep water and follows the contours, particularly around the Flemish Cap. High eddy kinetic energy is seen on the flanks of topography and is higher where the slope is steeper. This is particularly clear on both east and west flanks of the Rockall Plateau. Interannual changes in the currents are revealed by the differences between the Geosat and ERS-1 eddy kinetic energy maps. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22525-22539
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume99
Issue numberC11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994

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