Rotation of floating particles in submesoscale cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies: a model study for the southeastern Baltic Sea

Zhurbas, Victor; Väli, Germo; Kuzmina, Natalia

We hypothesized that the overwhelming dominance of cyclonic spirals on satellite images of the sea surface could be caused by some differences between the rotary characteristics of submesoscale cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies. This hypothesis was tested by means of numerical experiments with synthetic floating Lagrangian particles embedded offline in a regional circulation model of the southeastern Baltic Sea with very high horizontal resolution (0.125 nautical mile grid). The numerical experiments showed that the cyclonic spirals can be formed from both a horizontally uniform initial distribution of floating particles and from the initially lined-up particles during an advection time of the order of 1 d. Statistical processing of the trajectories of the synthetic floating particles allowed us to conclude that the submesoscale cyclonic eddies differ from the anticyclonic eddies in three ways favoring the formation of spirals in the tracer field: they can be characterized by (a) a considerably higher angular velocity, (b) a more pronounced differential rotation and (c) a negative helicity.

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Zhurbas, Victor / Väli, Germo / Kuzmina, Natalia: Rotation of floating particles in submesoscale cyclonic and anticyclonic eddies: a model study for the southeastern Baltic Sea. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Victor Zhurbas et al.

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