Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Research article
05 Mar 2013
Research article |  | 05 Mar 2013

Manifestation of two meddies in altimetry and sea-surface temperature

I. Bashmachnikov, D. Boutov, and J. Dias

Abstract. Two meddies were identified in the Iberian Basin using shipboard ADCP (Meddy 1) and Argo float (Meddy 2) in contrasting background conditions. Meddy 1 was observed while interacting with the Azores Current (AzC), while Meddy 2 was observed in a much calmer dynamical background, north from the AzC jet. In both cases the meddies formed a clear anticyclonic surface signal, detectable in altimetry as well as in sea-surface temperature (SST). Analysis of the in situ observations of the dynamic signal over Meddy 1 showed that the signal, generated by the moving meddy, dominated the AzC dynamics at least up to the base of the seasonal thermocline even at the late stages of its interaction with the jet. The centre of rotation of the surface signal was shifted south-westward from the axis of the meddy by about 18 km, and its dynamic radius was 2 times bigger than that of the meddy. In the centre of the anticyclonic surface signals of both meddies, SST was colder than that of the surrounding water, in contrast to warm SST anomalies in the cores of surface anticyclones generated by meandering surface currents. The latter difference gives ground for identification of meddies (as well as other sub-surface anticyclones) in comparatively dynamically calm regions using coupled altimetry–SST remote sensing data. An identification of Meddy 1 prior to the shipboard ADCP measurements was the first successful experience. At the same time, SST anomalies over the meddies were rather weak, often unstable and statistically significant only over periods of months.