Repository: Freie Universität Berlin, Math Department

Long-term observations of transport, eddies, and Rossby waves in the Mozambique Channel

Harlander, U. and Ridderinkhof, H. and Schouten, M.W. and de Ruijter, W. P. M (2009) Long-term observations of transport, eddies, and Rossby waves in the Mozambique Channel. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, 114 (C02003). 15pp.

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Data from an array of current meter moorings covering a period of two and a half years are used to estimate the varying transport through the Mozambique Channel. The total transport during this period is small (8.6 · 106 m3 s−1 or 8.6 Sv southward). Below 1200 m the transport is weak but a prominent deep western boundary undercurrent with cores at 1700 and 2200 m is found that transports 1.5 Sv to the north. The transport shows a large temporal variability, and neither a continuous upper layer western boundary current nor a continuous deep undercurrent is found. The variability in the upper layer is dominated by a period of 68 days and results mainly from eddies that migrate southward through the Mozambique Channel. In addition to this southward propagation, a westward-propagating signal is evident from a space-time diagram of the throughflow. The signal is interpreted as a Mozambique Channel Rossby normal mode. This interpretation is consistent with results from a Principal Oscillation Pattern Analysis (that estimates normal modes from the data) and a quasi-geostrophic channel model. A detailed inspection of a single “eddy event” shows that a precursor of an anticyclone is a strong southward current along the Madagascar coast that propagates westward to the center of the Channel. During the westward propagation, the current becomes unstable inducing an anticyclone. This scenario connects the westward-propagating mode with the eddy growth and explains the coincidence of the eddy and Rossby mode frequency. Still, the type of instability that leads to eddy growth could not be determined yet.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Mathematical and Computer Sciences > Mathematics > Applied Mathematics
ID Code:1053
Deposited By: Ulrike Eickers
Deposited On:14 Apr 2011 14:43
Last Modified:14 Apr 2011 14:43

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