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Scales and dynamics of Submesoscale Coherent Vortices formed by deep convection in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

Bosse, Anthony et al.

Journal of geophysical research. Oceans. Volume 121:Issue 10 (2016, October); pp 7716-7742 -- John Wiley & Sons Inc

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  • Title:
    Scales and dynamics of Submesoscale Coherent Vortices formed by deep convection in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea
  • Author: Bosse, Anthony;
    Testor, Pierre;
    Houpert, Loïc;
    Damien, Pierre;
    Prieur, Louis;
    Hayes, Daniel;
    Taillandier, Vincent;
    Durrieu de Madron, Xavier;
    d'Ortenzio, Fabrizio;
    Coppola, Laurent;
    Karstensen, Johannes;
    Mortier, Laurent
  • Found In: Journal of geophysical research. Oceans. Volume 121:Issue 10 (2016, October); pp 7716-7742
  • Journal Title: Journal of geophysical research. Oceans
  • Subjects: Oceanography--Periodicals; Submesoscale Coherent Vortices--deep convection--deep waters transport--Mediterranean Sea; Dewey: 551.4605
  • Rights: legaldeposit
  • Publication Details: John Wiley & Sons Inc
  • Abstract: Abstract:

    Since 2010, an intense effort in the collection of in situ observations has been carried out in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea thanks to gliders, profiling floats, regular cruises, and mooring lines. This integrated observing system enabled a year‐to‐year monitoring of the deep waters formation that occurred in the Gulf of Lions area during four consecutive winters (2010–2013). Vortical structures remnant of wintertime deep vertical mixing events were regularly sampled by the different observing platforms. These are Submesoscale Coherent Vortices (SCVs) characterized by a small radius (∼5–8 km), strong depth‐intensified orbital velocities (∼10–20 cm s −1 ) with often a weak surface signature, high Rossby (∼0.5) and Burger numbers O(0.5–1). Anticyclones transport convected waters resulting from intermediate (∼300 m) to deep (∼2000 m) vertical mixing. Cyclones are characterized by a 500–1000 m thick layer of weakly stratified deep waters (or bottom waters that cascaded from the shelf of the Gulf of Lions in 2012) extending down to the bottom of the ocean at ∼2500 m. The formation of cyclonic eddies seems to be favored by bottom‐reaching convection occurring during the study period or cascading events reaching the abyssal plain. We confirm the prominent role of anticyclonic SCVs and shed light on the important role of cyclonic SCVs in the spreading of a significant amount (∼30%) of the newly formed deep waters away from the winter mixing areas. Since they can survive until the following winter, they can potentially have a great impact on the mixed layer deepening through a local preconditioning effect.

    Key Points:

    Small‐scale eddies (5–10 km radius) formed by deep convection are described from in situ observations in the NW Mediterranean Sea

    Bottom‐reaching convection might favor the formation of cyclonic vortices characterized by surface‐ intensified or depth‐intensified velocities

    Long‐lived vortices can transport a significant fraction of the convected waters and influence the convection onset the following winter


  • Identifier: System Number: LDEAvdc_100073839001.0x000001; Journal ISSN: 2169-9275; 10.1002/2016JC012144
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Physical Description: Electronic
  • Shelfmark(s): ELD Digital store

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