Gulf Stream Cold-Core Rings: Their Physics, Chemistry, and Biology

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Science  05 Jun 1981:
Vol. 212, Issue 4499, pp. 1091-1100
DOI: 10.1126/science.212.4499.1091


Cyclonic Gulf Stream rings are energetic eddies in the warm Sargasso Sea consisting of a ring of Gulf Stream water surrounding a core of cold Slope Water. Initially a ring core has the characteristics of the Slope Water; it is rich in plants, animals, and nutrients. As a ring decays the Slope Water properties of its core are gradually replaced by those of the Sargasso Sea, where standing crops of plants, animals, and nutrients generally are low. Although the decay rate suggests a rather long lifetime (2 to 4 years), the usual death of a ring comes when it rejoins the Gulf Stream after 6 to 12 months.