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On the structure and the transport of the eastern Weddell Gyre
Schröder, M.; Fahrbach, E. (1999). On the structure and the transport of the eastern Weddell Gyre. Deep-Sea Res., Part II, Top. Stud. Oceanogr. 46(1-2): 501-527.
In: Deep-Sea Research, Part II. Topical Studies in Oceanography. Pergamon: Oxford. ISSN 0967-0645, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Schröder, M.
  • Fahrbach, E.

    The circulation pattern and volume transports in the eastern Weddell Gyre are estimated on the basis of hydrographic data collected by R.V. Polarstern between 1989 and 1996. In the northeastern edge of the Weddell Gyre, eastward-flowing water masses from the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the Weddell Sea converge. Due to the strong effect of topographic constraints on ocean currents in the weakly stratified waters of high latitudes, the wedge-like structure of the Southwest Indian Ridge can cause the convergence. The increased shear leads to instabilities of the current at the eastern end of the ridge, which produce an intense mesoscale eddy field between 15° and 30°E. In the eddies, water from the Weddell cold regime and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current waters mix and form the water masses of the Weddell warm regime. These waters are advected southward and flow towards the westward southern rim current, which is driven by the Antarctic eastwind band. Hence, there is not a continous flow from the northern to the southern rim, but a decay of the mean flow in the northeast and a reformation in the south. Volume transports across the Greenwich Meridian, estimated on the basis of a combined CTD/ADCP data set, result in an eastward flow of 61 Sv in the northern rim current and a westward return flow of 66 Sv in the southern part of the gyre. The transport is about twice as high as previous estimates between Kapp Norvegia and the northern tip of the Antarctic Pensinsula, indicating a significant gyre circulation north of 70°S.

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