Report

Oceanic Mass Transport by Mesoscale Eddies

Science  26 Jun 2014:

DOI: 10.1126/science.1252418

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Abstract

Oceanic transports of heat, salt, and fresh water, dissolved CO2 and other tracers regulate global climate change and distribution of natural marine resources. While the time-mean ocean circulation transports fluid as a conveyor belt, fluid parcels can also be trapped and transported discretely by migrating mesoscale eddies. By combining available satellite altimetry and Argo profiling float data, we show that the eddy-induced zonal mass transport can reach a total meridionally integrated value up to 30-40 Sv (1 Sv = 106 m3 s−1), and it occurs mainly in subtropical regions where the background flows are weak. This transport is comparable in magnitude with that of the large-scale, wind- and thermohaline-driven circulation.

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