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Free Content On the vorticity cycle of the Loop Current

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The inrushing/retraction behavior of the Loop Current (LC) in the eastern Gulf of Mexico can be represented by a recurrent cycle of vorticity input/output with a time scale of 0 to 16 months. This cycle is brought about as a balance between the accumulation of absolute vorticity in the LC and deep advection of vorticity to the Caribbean Sea. The vorticity time scale is directly proportional to the change in circulation around the LC and 2H/Q0(f0 + 0); where H (∼800 m) is the thickness of the LC, Q0 is the amplitude of the deep outflow, and (f0 + 0) is the absolute vorticity at Yucatan. It is proposed that the vorticity time scale is related to the eddy-shedding period, and this relation suggests that the LC adjusts itself in such a way as to keep 2H/Q0(f0 + ) constant. This parameter captures all relevant processes: thickness of the current, inflow through 0 = ∂VI∂x; the deep outflow; and the planetary vorticity (f0).

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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