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Observed 3D structure, generation, and dissipation of oceanic mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea
Zhang, Z.; Tian, J.; Qiu, B.; Zhao, W.; Chang, P.; Wu, D.; Wan, X. (2016). Observed 3D structure, generation, and dissipation of oceanic mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea. NPG Scientific Reports 6(24349): 11 pp.
In: Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group). Nature Publishing Group: London. ISSN 2045-2322; e-ISSN 2045-2322, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Authors  Top 
  • Zhang, Z.
  • Tian, J.
  • Qiu, B.
  • Zhao, W.
  • Chang, P.
  • Wu, D.
  • Wan, X.

    Oceanic mesoscale eddies with horizontal scales of 50–300?km are the most energetic form of flows in the ocean. They are the oceanic analogues of atmospheric storms and are effective transporters of heat, nutrients, dissolved carbon, and other biochemical materials in the ocean. Although oceanic eddies have been ubiquitously observed in the world oceans since 1960s, our understanding of their three-dimensional (3D) structure, generation, and dissipation remains fragmentary due to lack of systematic full water-depth measurements. To bridge this knowledge gap, we designed and conducted a multi-months field campaign, called the South China Sea Mesoscale Eddy Experiment (S-MEE), in the northern South China Sea in 2013/2014. The S-MEE for the first time captured full-depth 3D structures of an anticyclonic and cyclonic eddy pair, which are characterized by a distinct vertical tilt of their axes. By observing the eddy evolution at an upstream versus downstream location and conducting an eddy energy budget analysis, the authors further proposed that generation of submesoscale motions most likely constitutes the dominant dissipation mechanism for the observed eddies.

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