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Observations of oceanic mesoscale features and variability in the Canary Islands area from ERS-1 altimeter data, satellite infrared imagery and hydrographic measurements

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The main purposes of this paper are to identify and evaluate the oceanic mesoscale features that appear in the Atlantic Ocean eastern boundary, 20–40° N, 19–9° W, using ERS-1 (1992–1993) satellite altimeter data. The sea surface height anomalies and the eddy kinetic energy fields are calculated. High energy values, between 0.03 and 0.05 m2 s-2, are observed with the altimeter data in the Canary region mainly in summer. These maximum values are associated with eddies located downstream of Gran Canaria and Tenerife (Canary Islands).

Comparison with in situ measurements provided by the hydrographic surveys from a cruise in summer 1993 around the Canary Islands showed a good agreement. Dynamic heights relative to 300 dbar for August and the altimetric heights from ERS-1 data were averaged over 0.125° boxes for the duration of the cruise. The correlation coefficient was 0.7. Negative anomalies of the sea level calculated from ERS-1 between Cape Yubi and Cape Bojador (26.0°–27.5° N) were obtained in August 1993. Possibly these correspond with filaments from the north-west African upwelling coast.

Also, the results of the altimetric data were compared with NOAA AVHRR (Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer) sea surface temperature (SST) satellite images. A cyclonic and an anticyclonic eddy to the south-west of the island of Gran Canaria were identified during the same period in the SST images.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 21, 2002

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