Cite this paper:
WANG Huizan, LIU Ding, ZHANG Weimin, LI Jiaxun, WANG Bo. Characterizing the capability of mesoscale eddies to carry drifters in the northwest Pacific[J]. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology, 2020, 38(6): 1711-1728

Characterizing the capability of mesoscale eddies to carry drifters in the northwest Pacific

WANG Huizan1, LIU Ding1, ZHANG Weimin1, LI Jiaxun2, WANG Bo1
1 College of Meteorology and Oceanography, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China;
2 Naval Research Academy, Tianjin 300061, China
Mesoscale eddies are common oceanic phenomena. Although many related studies have been conducted, the ability for mesoscale eddies to carry real particles remains poorly addressed. We considered the drifters as real particles to characterize the capability of mesoscale eddies to carry particles. Firstly, mesoscale eddies in the northwest Pacific (99°E-180°E, 0°-66°N) were identified using sea level anomaly (SLA) data from 1993 to 2015. Secondly, three important parameters (the carrying days, the number of circles the drifter revolving around the eddy center, and the carrying distances) were calculated by colocalizing eddy data with drifters. Finally, statistical analysis and composite analysis were conducted, reflecting the capability of mesoscale eddies to carry particles. The mechanisms on the carrying capability of eddies were also discussed. Results show that (1) the motion of carried drifters reflects the upper limit of rotational speed of eddies that the drifters revolve around the eddy center by ≤ 90° for one day in most cases; (2) the drifters tend to be carried for a longer time when their minimal distances to the eddy center measured with normalized distance are small; (3) there are two types of eddies (cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies) in different subregions of northwest Pacific, and each has a different carrying capability (on average, similar in the tropical ocean and Subtropical Countercurrent, cyclonic eddies tend to have stronger carrying capability in Southern Kuroshio Extension, and anticyclonic eddies tend to have stronger carrying capability in Northern Kuroshio Extension and Subarctic Gyre); (4) on average, the carried drifters tend to travel for a longer time around the normalized eddy radii ranging from 0.41 to 0.76; (5) the carrying days are related to the Rossby number of the eddy (in general when the Rossby number is smaller, the carrying days are longer).
Key words:    mesoscale eddy|drifter|Rossby number|composite analysis|carrying capability   
Received: 2019-05-31   Revised: 2019-08-01
PDF (6403 KB) Free
Print this page
Add to favorites
Email this article to others
Articles by WANG Huizan
Articles by LIU Ding
Articles by ZHANG Weimin
Articles by LI Jiaxun
Articles by WANG Bo
Chaigneau A, Eldin G, Dewitte B. 2009. Eddy activity in the four major upwelling systems from satellite altimetry(1992-2007). Progress in Oceanography, 83(1-4):117-123.
Chaigneau A, Gizolme A, Grados C. 2008. Mesoscale eddies off Peru in altimeter records:identification algorithms and eddy spatio-temporal patterns. Progress in Oceanography, 79(2-4):106-119.
Chaigneau A, Le Texier M, Eldin G, Grados C, Pizarro O. 2011. Vertical structure of mesoscale eddies in the eastern South Pacific Ocean:a composite analysis from altimetry and Argo profiling floats. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 116(C11):C11025.
Chaigneau A, Pizarro O. 2005. Eddy characteristics in the eastern South Pacific. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 110(C6):C06005.
Chelton D B, Schlax M G, Samelson R M. 2011. Global observations of nonlinear mesoscale eddies. Progress in Oceanography, 91(2):167-216.
Cushman-Roisin B, Beckers J M. 2011. Quasi-geostrophic dynamics. International Geophysics, 101:521-551.
Dai J, Wang H Z, Zhang W M, An Y Z, Zhang R. 2020. Observed spatiotemporal variation of three-dimensional structure and heat/salt transport of anticyclonic mesoscale eddy in Northwest Pacific. Journal of Oceanology and Limnology,
de Marez C, L'Hégaret P, Morvan M, Carton X. 2019. On the 3D structure of eddies in the Arabian Sea. Deep Sea Research Part I:Oceanographic Research Papers, 150:103057.
Dong C M, Liu Y, Lumpkin R, Lankhorst M, Chen D K, McWilliams J C, Guan Y P. 2011. A Scheme to Identify Loops from Trajectories of Oceanic Surface Drifters:An Application in the Kuroshio Extension Region. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 28(9):1 167-1 176.
Dong D, Brandt P, Chang P, Schütte F, Yang X F, Yan J H, Zeng J S. 2017. Mesoscale eddies in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean:three-dimensional eddy structures and heat/salt transports. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 122(12):9 795-9 813.
Duo Z J, Wang W K, Wang H Z. 2019. Oceanic mesoscale eddy detection method based on deep learning. Remote Sensing, 11(16):1 921.
Jia Y L, Liu Q Y. 2004. Eddy shedding from the Kuroshio Bend at Luzon strait. Journal of Oceanography, 60(6):1 063-1 069.
Li J X, Wang G H, Xue H J, Wang H Z. 2019. A simple predictive model for the eddy propagation trajectory in the northern South China Sea. Ocean Science, 15(2):401-412.
Li J X, Zhang R, Jin B G. 2011. Eddy characteristics in the Northern South China Sea as inferred from Lagrangian drifter data. Ocean Science, 7(5):661-669.
Lumpkin R, Grodsky S A, Centurioni L, Rio M H, Carton J A, Lee D. 2013. Removing Spurious Low-Frequency Variability in Drifter Velocities. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 30(2):353-360.
Lumpkin R, Pazos M. 2007. Measuring surface currents with Surface Velocity Program drifters:the instrument, its data, and some recent results. In:Griffa A, Kirwan Jr A D, Mariano A J, Özgökmen T, Rossby H T eds. Lagrangian Analysis and Prediction of Coastal and Ocean Dynamics. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. p.39-67.
Nencioli F, Dong C M, Dickey T, Washburn L, McWilliams J C. 2010. A vector geometry-based eddy detection algorithm and its application to a high-resolution numerical model product and high-frequency radar surface velocities in the southern California Bight. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 27(3):564-579.
Ni Q B. 2014. Statistical Characteristics and Composite Threedimensional Structures of Mesoscale Eddies near the Luzon Strait. Xiamen University, Xiamen. (in Chinese with English abstract)
Niiler P P, Sybrandy A S, Bi K, Poulain P M, Bitterman D. 1995. Measurements of the water-following capability of holey-sock and tristar drifters. Deep Sea Research. Part I:Oceanographic Research Papers, 42(11-12):1 951-1 964.
Niiler P. 2001. The world ocean surface circulation. International Geophysics, 77:193-204.
Qiu B, Chen S M, Klein P, Sasaki H, Sasai Y. 2014. Seasonal Mesoscale and Submesoscale eddy variability along the North Pacific subtropical countercurrent. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 44(12):3 079-3 098.
Rio M H. 2012. Use of altimeter and wind data to detect the anomalous loss of SVP-type drifter's drogue. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 29(11):1 663-1 674.
Song B, Wang H Z, Chen C L, Zhang R, Bao S L. 2019. Observed subsurface eddies near the Vietnam coast of the South China Sea. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 38(4):39-46.
Souza J M A C, de Boyer Montégut C, Le Traon P Y. 2011. Comparison between three implementations of automatic identification algorithms for the quantification and characterization of mesoscale eddies in the South Atlantic Ocean. Ocean Science, 7(3):317-334.
Troupin C, Barth A, Sirjacobs D, Ouberdous M, Brankart J M, Brasseur P, Rixen M, Alvera-Azcárate A, Belounis M, Capet A, Lenartz F, Toussaint M E, Beckers J M. 2012. Generation of analysis and consistent error fields using the data interpolating variational analysis (DIVA). Ocean Modelling, 52-53:90-101.
Wang G H, Su J L, Chu P C. 2003. Mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea observed with altimeter data. Geophysical Research Letters, 30(21):2 121.
Wang H Z, Guo P, Ni Q B, Li J X. 2018. A CFSFDP clusteringbased eddy trajectory tracking method. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 40(8):1-9. (in Chinese with English abstract)
Wang H Z, Liu Q H, Yan H Q, Song B, Zhang W M. 2019a. The interactions between surface Kuroshio transport and the eddy field east of Taiwan using satellite altimeter data. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 38(4):116-125.
Wang Z F, Sun L, Li Q Y, Cheng H. 2019b. Two typical merging events of oceanic mesoscale anticyclonic eddies. Ocean Science, 15(6):1 545-1 559.
Yang G, Wang F, Li Y L, Lin P F. 2013. Mesoscale eddies in the northwestern subtropical Pacific Ocean:statistical characteristics and three-dimensional structures. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 118(4):1 906-1 925.
Yang Z B, Wang G H, Chen C L. 2019. Horizontal velocity structure of mesoscale eddies in the South China Sea. Deep Sea Research Part I:Oceanographic Research Papers, 149:103055.
Yuan D L, Han W Q, Hu D X. 2006. Surface Kuroshio path in the Luzon Strait area derived from satellite remote sensing data. Journal of Geophysical Research:Oceans, 111(C11):C11007.
Zhang W Z, Ni Q B, Xue H J. 2018. Composite eddy structures on both sides of the Luzon Strait and influence factors. Ocean Dynamics, 68(11):1 527-1 541.
Zhang W Z, Xue H J, Chai F, Ni Q B. 2015. Dynamical processes within an anticyclonic eddy revealed from Argo floats. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(7):2 342-2 350.
Zhang Z G, Qiu B. 2018. Evolution of submesoscale ageostrophic motions through the life cycle of oceanic mesoscale eddies. Geophysical Research Letters, 45(21):11 847-11 855.
Zhang Z G, Wei W, Bo Q. 2014. Oceanic mass transport by mesoscale eddies. Science, 345(6194):322-324.
Zhang Z G, Zhang Y, Wang W, Huang R X. 2013. Universal structure of mesoscale eddies in the ocean. Geophysical Research Letters, 40(14):3 677-3 681.
Zheng C C, Yang Y X, Wang F M. 2014. Spatial-temporal features of eddies in the North Pacific. Marine Sciences, 38(10):105-112. (in Chinese with English abstract)
Copyright © Haiyang Xuebao