The Impact of Upwelling on the Intensification of Anticyclonic Ocean Eddies in the Caribbean Sea

Carine G. van der Boog, Julie D. Pietrzak, Henk A. Dijkstra, Nils Brüggemann, René M. van Westen, Rebecca K. James, Tjeerd J. Bouma, Riccardo E. M. Riva, D. Cornelis Slobbe, Roland Klees, Marcel Zijlema, Caroline A. Katsman
2019 Ocean Science Discussions  
<p><strong>Abstract.</strong> The mesoscale variability in the Caribbean Sea is dominated by anticyclonic eddies that are formed in the eastern part of the basin. These anticyclones intensify on their path westward while they pass the coastal upwelling region along the Venezuelan and Colombian coast. In this study, we used a regional model to show that this westward intensification of Caribbean anticyclones is driven by the advection of cold upwelling filaments. These dense filaments are
more » ... ilaments are advected by the anticyclones, leading to an increase of the horizontal density gradients at the western side of the anticyclones. Following the thermal wind balance, the increased density gradients result in an increase of the vertical shear of the anticyclones and to their westward intensification. To assess the impact of variations in upwelling on the anticyclones, several simulations were performed in which the northward Ekman transport (and thus the upwelling strength) is altered. As expected, stronger (weaker) upwelling is associated with more stronger (weaker) offshore cooling and a more (less) westward intensification of the anticyclones. The simulations with weaker upwelling show farther advection of the Amazon and Orinoco River plumes into the basin. The dispersion of the river plumes affects the formation process of the anticyclones, where the horizontal density gradients were mainly determined by the salinity gradients of the river plume and not by temperature gradients that were associated with upwelling.</p>
doi:10.5194/os-2019-51 fatcat:bxwzq3zainhtpfm6pkr6zt6ske