Geophysical Research Letters

Deep-water seamount wakes on SEASAT SAR image in the Gulf Stream region

Authors

  • Quanan Zheng,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
    2. First Institute of Oceanography, SOA, Qingdao, China
      Corresponding author: Q. Zheng, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, 2423 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742, USA. (quanan@atmos.umd.edu)
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  • Benjamin Holt,

    1. Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USA
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  • Xiaofeng Li,

    1. IMSG at NOAA, NESDIS, NOAA, Camp Springs, Maryland, USA
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  • Xinan Liu,

    1. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
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  • Qing Zhao,

    1. Key Laboratory of Geographical Information Science, Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China
    2. Joint Laboratory for Environmental Remote Sensing and Data Assimilation, East China Normal University and Center for Earth Observation and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
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  • Yeli Yuan,

    1. First Institute of Oceanography, SOA, Qingdao, China
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  • Xiaofeng Yang

    1. Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, CAS, Beijing, China
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Corresponding author: Q. Zheng, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, University of Maryland, 2423 Computer and Space Sciences Bldg., College Park, MD 20742, USA. (quanan@atmos.umd.edu)

Abstract

[1] A SEASAT synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image taken over the Gulf Stream region shows streak-like patterns. The physics of their generation and interaction with the Gulf Stream are disputed. This study seeks a convincing interpretation for the SAR imagery patterns. Bathymetric maps show that the sea floor area beneath the streaks is the northeast Hoyt Hills, where isolated seamounts with the heights of 20 to 140 m above the background sea floor are distributed. All the SAR imagery streaks originate from these seamounts and extend downstream. Thus the SAR imagery streaks are interpreted as surface roughness imprints of the seamount wakes. Hydrostatic flow dynamics of the generation of wakes on the lee side of a solid obstacle is used to explain the generation mechanism and internal structure of the seamount wakes. The analysis indicates that boundary conditions and hydrodynamic conditions are favorable for the generation and vertical propagation of the seamount wakes to the upper layer.

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