Divergent pathways of cyclonic and anti-cyclonic ocean eddies

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Abstract

[1] Satellite altimetry is used to study the propagation pathways of warm and cold ocean eddies in different ocean basins. We consider eddies that have a life span longer than 3 months, and we present three regional studies: in the southeast Indian, the southeast Atlantic, and the northeast Pacific Oceans. The case studies show that simple theories for vortex propagation on a β-plane work in regions where energetic eddies propagate though a weak background flow. Under these conditions, anticyclonic/cyclonic eddies propagate westward and equatorward/poleward. This divergence in the eddy pathways implies a net equatorward eddy heat flux, and has implications for the meridional transport of freshwater, carbon, nutrients, etc.

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