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What does HYCOM tell us about submesoscale processes?

Jean A Mensa, Zulema Garraffo, Annalisa Griffa, Tamay Ozgokmen, Angelique C. Haza, Milena Veneziani
Rosenstiel School - University of Miami
(Abstract received 12/12/2010 for session X)

In recent years, there has been significant interest in the existence and potential role of submesoscale processes in the oceans. Submesoscale process may play an important role in the context of energy balance, mixing and eddy fluxes. With this motivation we performed a one year simulation of the Gulf Stream in HYCOM with 1/48th degree resolution to investigate the presence and role of submesoscale processes. Positive Okubo-Weiss parameter and spectra of kinetic energy and enstrophy are then used as metrics of the submesoscale activity. Submesoscale activity presents a seasonal periodicity, which seems to be correlated with the depth of the mixed layer, inspiring different hypothesis about the formation of the small scale features.

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2011 LOM Workshop, Miami, Florida February 7 - 9, 2011