Combining an Eddy Detection Algorithm with In-Situ Measurements to Study North Brazil Current Rings

Subirade, Corentin ; L'Hégaret, Pierre ; Speich, Sabrina ; Laxenaire, Rémi ; Karstensen, Johannes ; Carton, Xavier

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<p align=justify>North Brazil Current (NBC) rings are believed to play a key role in the Atlantic Ocean circulation and climate. Here, we use a new collection of high-resolution in-situ observations acquired during the EUREC4A-OA field experiment together with satellite altimetry to define, with unprecedented detail, the structure and evolution of these eddies. In-situ observations reveal a more complex structure than previously documented. In particular, we highlight a measurable impact of the Amazon outflow in creating a barrier layer over a large portion of the eddies. We show that this unprecedented data set allows us to estimate the accuracy of satellite altimetry gridded fields. The geostrophic velocities derived from satellite altimetry turn out to be considerably lower (up to 50% in amplitude) than the values measured by current meters. However, eddy properties as detected by TOEddies, a newly developed algorithm show to be relatively precise. For example, the eddy center and maximum azimuthal velocity contour fall within 25 ± 5 km and 16 ± 9 km, respectively, from the in-situ observed values. We apply TOEddies to 27 years of satellite altimetry to investigate the generic NBC rings behavior. We found a mean generation rate of 4.5 ± 1.1 rings per year, and a strong seasonal cycle in all eddy properties.</p>
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