Philip Richardson

Philip Richardson
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution | WHOI · Department of Physical Oceanography

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116
Publications
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7,288
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September 1974 - present
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Position
  • Scientist Emeritus

Publications

Publications (116)
Article
Although Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) is well known to have studied bird flight, few people realize that he was the first to document flight manoeuvres now called dynamic soaring. Birds use these manoeuvres to extract energy from the gradient of wind velocity (wind shear) for sustained flight. In his Manuscript E ( ca 1513–1515) Leonardo described...
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Background Albatrosses and other large seabirds use dynamic soaring to gain sufficient energy from the wind to travel large distances rapidly and with little apparent effort. The recent development of miniature bird-borne tracking devices now makes it possible to explore the physical and biological implications of this means of locomotion in detail...
Article
Albatrosses have been observed to soar in an upwind direction using what is called here an upwind mode of dynamic soaring. The upwind mode was modeled using the dynamics of a two-layer Rayleigh cycle in which the lower layer has zero velocity and the upper layer has a uniform wind speed of W. The upwind mode consists of a climb across the wind-shea...
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Wandering albatrosses exploit the vertical gradient of wind velocity (wind shear) above the ocean to gain energy for long distance dynamic soaring with a typical airspeed of 36 mph. In principle, albatrosses could soar much faster than this in sufficient wind, but the limited strength of their wings prevents a much faster airspeed. Recently, pilots...
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Dynamic soaring uses the gradient of wind velocity (wind shear) to gain energy for energy-neutral flight. Recently, pilots of radio-controlled gliders have exploited the wind shear associated with fast winds blowing over mountain ridges to achieve very fast speeds, reaching a record of 487 mph in January 2012. A relatively simple two-layer model of...
Article
Albatrosses fly long distances over the Southern Ocean, even around the world, almost without flapping their wings: this has raised interest in how they perform such a feat. On a cruise to the South Atlantic I observed albatrosses soaring in a characteristic swooping zigzag flight that appears to combine two soaring techniques to gain energy wind-s...
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a b s t r a c t A comprehensive analysis of velocity data from subsurface floats in the northwestern tropical Atlantic at two depth layers is presented: one representing the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW, pressure range 600–1050 dbar), the other the upper North Atlantic Deep Water (uNADW, pressure range 1200–2050 dbar). New data from three ind...
Article
Author Posting. © Elsevier B.V., 2008. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Elsevier B.V. for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Progress In Oceanography 76 (2008): 466-486, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2008.01.005. Recent global warming caused by humans and the prediction o...
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The variability of the Caribbean Current is studied in terms of the influence on its dynamics of the freshwater inflow from the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. Sea-surface salinity maps of the eastern Caribbean and SeaWiFS color images show that a freshwater plume from the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers extends seasonally northwestward across the Caribbean b...
Article
Surface drifters and subsurface floats drifting at depths near 800 m were used to study the pathways of warm, salty Indian Ocean water leaking into the South Atlantic that is a component of the upper limb of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (MOC). Four drifters and 5 floats drifted from the Agulhas Current directly into the Benguela...
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Subsurface float and surface drifter observations illustrate the structure, evolution, and eventual demise of 10 North Brazil Current (NBC) rings as they approached and collided with the Lesser Antilles in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean. Upon encountering the shoaling topography east of the Lesser Antilles, most of the rings were deflected abr...
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1] Acoustic float data collected near 800 m depth, are used to map zonal mean currents within the Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) tongue in the equatorial Atlantic. Alternating zonal jets of 2° latitudinal width are revealed between 6°S and 6°N. Displacements from profiling floats drifting near 1000 m depth, also reveal similar zonal jets at th...
Article
This study combines float data from different projects collected between 1991 and 2003 in the South Atlantic to describe the flow of Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW). Velocity space–time averages are calculated for various grid resolutions and with cells deformed to match the bathymetry, f/H or f/h (with H being the water depth and h being the t...
Article
Recent satellite-tracked surface drifter trajectories were analyzed to describe the mean currents and eddies in the Caribbean Sea. The structure of the Caribbean Current and its variability were determined from high-resolution 12-degree maps of the mean velocity and eddy kinetic energy. Looping drifter trajectories were used to identify discrete cy...
Article
RAFOS float trajectories near the 27.5 density level were analyzed to investigate discrete eddies in the northern North Atlantic with the objective of determining their geographical distribution and characteristics. Floats that made two or more consecutive loops in the same direction (loopers) were considered to have been in an eddy. Overall 15% (2...
Article
In the late 1990s, over 100 acoustically-tracked RAFOS floats were deployed at the thermocline level between 45 and 55N in the North Atlantic to investigate the warm water pathways from the subtropical to subpolar regions. This was part of the U.S. WOCE Atlantic Circulation and Climate Experiment (ACCE). The trajectories of floats released upstream...
Article
North Brazil Current (NBC) rings form near 8N where the NBC retroflects into the North Equatorial Countercurrent. These rings are 400km in diameter and can exceed 2000m in depth. They transport around 9Sv of South Atlantic Water northwestward up the northeastern coast of South America. During 1999-2001 ten rings were tracked with 25 surface drifter...
Article
Rings shed at the Agulhas retroflection are an integral part of interoceanic exchange south of Africa. There is clear evidence of westward ring translation from the northern Cape Basin across the South Atlantic Ocean. Early ring development and translation from the southern to the northern Cape Basin, however, are obscured by an intensely variable...
Article
This issue of Deep-Sea Research II contains 12 papers that describe results from field experiments and modeling studies concerning the Indian–Atlantic exchange of water around the Cape of Good Hope. A central theme is the important role of the mesoscale features, such as eddies and filaments, in the leakage of Indian water into the Atlantic. The pa...
Article
Seven floats (not launched in rings) crossed over the mid-Atlantic Ridge in the Benguela extension with a mean westward velocity of around 2 cm=s between 22S and 35S. Two Agulhas rings crossed over the mid-Atlantic Ridge with a mean velocity of 5:7 cm=s toward 2851: This implies they translated at around 3:8 cm=s through the background velocity fie...
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The earth's largest ocean rings are spawned near 8°N in the western tropical Atlantic from the equator-crossing North Brazil Current (NBC). NBC rings, which can exceed 450 km in diameter and 2000 m in vertical extent, translate northwestward parallel to the South American coastline until they collide with the Lesser Antilles in the southeastern Car...
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The circulation of water masses in the northeastern North Atlantic Ocean has a strong influence on global climate owing to the northward transport of warm subtropical water to high latitudes. But the ocean circulation at depths below the reach of satellite observations is difficult to measure, and only recently have comprehensive, direct observatio...
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Twenty-one RAFOS floats were tracked at depths of 200-1000 meters in and around several North Brazil Current Rings between November 1998 and June 2000. This was part of an experiment to study the role of these current rings in transporting upper level South Atlantic water across the equatorial-tropical gyre boundary into the North Atlantic subtropi...
Article
Recent subsurface float measurements in 27 Mediterranean Water eddies (Meddies) in the Atlantic are grouped together to reveal new information about the pathways of these energetic eddies and how they are often modified and possibly destroyed by collisions with seamounts. Twenty Meddies were tracked in the Iberian Basin west of Portugal, seven in t...
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The subsurface oceanic circulation is an important part of the Earth climate system. Subsurface currents tradi-tionally are inferred indirectly from distributions of tempera-ture and dissolved substances, occasionally supplemented by current meter measurements. Neutrally-buoyant floats how-ever, now enable us to obtain for the first time directly m...
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A field program to study the circulation of the Benguela Current and its extension into the southeastern Atlantic Ocean has completed the survey and instrument deployment phase. We report here new observations of three Agulhas rings north and west of Cape Town, South Africa. Three mesoscale anticyclonic rings initially identified by means of TOPEX/...
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A field program to study the circulation of the Benguela Current and its extension into the southeastern Atlantic Ocean has completed the survey and instrument deployment phase. We report here new observations of three Agulhas rings north and west of Cape Town, South Africa. Three mesoscale anticyclonic rings initially identified by means of TOPEX/...
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Two neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats vigorously looped and meandered at depths of 950-1150 m in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. The float trajectories illustrate a poleward flow along the tropical eastern boundary and significant intermediate-depth mesoscale variability in the low-latitude eastern basin. One float, caught within an energetic cyc...
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As part of the Semaphore Experiment four Meddies (Mediterranean Water Eddies) were discovered in the Canary Basin and tracked with freely drifting RAFOS floats. An additional Meddy was discovered off Lisbon by Pingree (1995) and also tracked with RAFOS floats. One large and energetic Meddy, discovered 1700 km west of Cape St. Vincent, Portugal, set...
Article
Fourteen neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats at a nominal depth of 1800 m were tracked acoustically for 3.7 yr in the vicinity of the western boundary and the equator of the Atlantic Ocean. The trajectories revealed a swift, narrow, southward-flowing deep western boundary current (DWBC) extending from 7N across the equator. Two floats crossed the equato...
Article
As prt of the Structures des Echanges Mer-Atmosphere, Proprietes des Heterogeneites Oceaniques: Recherche Experimentale (SEMAPHORE) experiment, four Mediterranean wter eddies (Meddies) were identified in the Canary Basin and trcked with freely drifting RAFOS floats. One lrge and energetic Meddy, discovered 1700 km west of Cpe Saint Vincent, Portuga...
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A joint research effort is currently focused on the oceanic region south of Africa—the gateway for the exchange of mass, heat, and salt between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans (Figure lb). The name of this collaboration, KAPEX, stands for Cape of Good Hope Experiments, Kap der guten Hoffnung Experimente, or Kaap die Goeie Hoop Eksperimente in the th...
Article
Much of our knowledge of the large scale pattern of surface velocity in the oceans comes from historical shipdrift velocity data. One concern about these data is the possibility of a substantial systematic error due to leeway, the downwind sideslip of ships through the water normal to their steered courses. The leeway error is investigated here bot...
Article
SOFAR floats at different depths within two Mediterranean Water eddies (meddies) reveal that the meddy rotation axes tilt transversely with respect to the meddy translation direction. The rotation axis of one of the meddies (Meddy 1) was displaced by about 6 km over a depth of roughly 100 m; the axis of the second meddy (Meddy 2) was displaced by a...
Article
Coastal Zone Color Scanner (CZCS) satellite images show extensive plumes of discolored water extending from South America into the western tropical Atlantic. The most conspicuous plumes originate at the mouths of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, and plumes originating at smaller rivers can also be seen from space. In a recent paper by Longhurst (1993...
Article
During 1989–1992, six different anticyclonic eddies were observed to translate up the coast of South America between 7°N and 12°N. These eddies, which are similar to those recently observed with coastal zone color scanner images, current meters, and altimetry, are inferred to have formed from pieces of the North Brazil Current, which retroflects or...
Article
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Neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats at nominal depths of 800 m, 1800 m, and 3300 m were tracked acoustically for 3.7 years in the vicinity of the western boundary and the equator of the Atlantic Ocean. Trajectories and summaries from the whole experiment are shown along with detailed trajectories from the second setting of the listening stations, Octobe...
Article
SOFAR floats that looped in discrete eddies were studied in order to map and describe the distribution and characteristics of eddies in the North Atlantic. One hundred eighteen individual looping float trajectories (loopers) were identified, each consisting of two or more consecutive loops. Each looper was interpreted to be in a discrete eddy, and...
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Lagrangian trajectories from the SOFAR float Mediterranean outflow experiment are used to estimate the low frequency variability and mixing in the vicinity of the Mediterranean salt tongue. Two dominant patterns of Lagrangian variability are observed, (1) nearly zonal low frequency motions and (2) wave-like oscillations with northwest to southeast...
Article
Neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats at nominal depths of 800, 1800, and 3300 m were tracked for 21 months in the vicinity of tropical boundary currents in the Atlantic near 6°N and at several sites near 11°N as well as along the equator. Trajectories at 1800 m show a swift (>50 cm/s), narrow (100 km wide), southward flowing deep western boundary current...
Article
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Several 5 to 10 m s-1 westerly wind bursts of 10-15 days' duration occurred in the Western Equatorial Pacific during november 1989 to January 1990. The response to these wind bursts was characterized by a 400- to 600 km wide eastward jet in the upper 100-150 m along the equator between 135°E and the date line. Flow in this jet accelarated to speeds...
Article
Velocity and eddy kinetic energy were calculated from float trajectories using original daily values and values subsampled at intervals of 15, 30, and 60 days to simulate pop-up floats that surface for position fixing at these time intervals. The mean velocity is well reproduced by the 15-day subsampled data. With the 30-day data, the peak velocity...
Article
An analysis of numerous meridional XBT sections near 28°W reveals that the geostrophic North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC) continues to flow eastward throughout the year, fatest in fall and slowest in spring. Drifting buoys and historical ship drifts show that the near-surface Countercurrent reverses each spring even when systematic errors due t...
Article
In our opinion roughly 13 Sv or 45% of the transport of the Florida Current is of South Atlantic origin, as compensation for the cross-equatorial flow of North Atlantic Deep Water. Of the 8.9 Sv moving through the Straits of Florida with temperatures above 24°C in the upper 100m of the water column, 7.1 Sv is composed of comparatively fresh water c...
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The Western Equatorial Pacific Ocean Circulation Study (WEPOCS) III expedition was conducted from June 18 through July 31, 1988, in the far western equatorial Pacific Ocean to observe the low-latitude western boundary circulation there, with emphasis on the Mindanao Current. This survey provides the first quasi-synoptic set of current measurements...
Article
Richardson, P.L., McCartney, M.S. and Maillard, C., 1991. A search for meddies in historical data. Dyn. Atmos. Oceans, 15: 241-265. A search was made using historical hydrographic data from the eastern North Atlantic to find measurements of very salty layers between 700-1300 m that could be observations of the warm, salty lenses known as meddies (M...
Article
In this note we compare mean seasonal cycles of zonal and meridional velocity in the Pacific South Equatorial Current based on current meter mooring data, drifting buoy data, and ship drift data. Monthly averages of ship drift and drifting buoy data were computed over 2° latitude by 10° longitude rectangles centered at the positions of multiyear cu...
Article
We report here a vertical profile of velocity measured in the equatorial Atlantic (0°00′N, 30°22′W) which reveals short vertical scale zonal jets with amplitudes of 10–20 cm s−1 over the upper 2500 m, alternating in the east-west direction with depth. Particularly prominent was an eastward jet centered at a depth of 1000 m with an amplitude of 28 c...
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Forty freely drifting drogued buoys were tracked by satellite in the western tropical Pacific from June 1988 to January 1, 1990, as part of WEPOCS III. The data consist of buoy trajectories and sea surface temperature and velocity along trajectories. The main results presented here are the collection of figures which show trajectories and time seri...
Article
The geographical and temporal distributions of worldwide ship drift velocities were plotted in order to see where and when the observations were made and to identify what appear to be major gaps in the data. Curiously, large areas of the North Atlantic, North Pacific, and South Pacific were found to be devoid of observations in some months during t...
Article
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Three Meddies were tracked for up to two years in the Canary Basin using neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats. These Meddies have cores of warm, salty Mediterranean Water and are approximately 100 km in diameter, 800 m thick, and are centered at a depth of 1100 m. Meddy 1 was tracked for two years (1984–86) with five floats as it drifted 1090 km southwar...
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A lens of Mediterranean water (Meddy) was tracked in the eastern North Atlantic for two years with SOFAR floats. The Meddy was first found between the Canary Islands and the Azores in October 1984. It center moved in an irregular pattern, at speeds of a few cm s⁻¹, and translated 1100 km to the south in two years. This Meddy was surveyed four times...
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Four 19-month time series of indirect measurements of dynamic height were obtained in the tropical Atlantic along 28°W at 0°, 3°, °6, and 9°N with three inverted echo sounders and one current meter mooring. The series were analyzed to study the time-latitude variability of the North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC). The eastward flow associated wit...
Article
In Eos (April 6, 1982), United States plans for a program to study the dynamic response of the equatorial Atlantic to seasonally varying surface winds were described. Now, 6 years later, we report on progress toward our goal ``to describe accurately, and to model correctly'' the changes in the currents and density field of the upper equatorial Atla...
Article
A SOFAR float at a depth of approximately 100 m was tracked intermittently for 9 years, the longest such trajectory ever obtained. This instrument was launched near 24N, 69W in October 1976. Tracking ceased when it was near 22N, 56W in June 1985. The llong-term drift was ≈1 cm s−1 eastward, in agreement with a few other 700 m floats and with geostr...
Article
Subsurface coherent vortices called Meddies1 are formed by the outflow of salty water from the Mediterranean Sea1,2 into the North Atlantic. In October 1984 we began a study to observe the life history and large-scale changes of a Meddy by identifying a specific Meddy, and carefully mapping it and seeding it with Sofar floats3. (These neutrally buo...
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The Amazon is the largest river system in the world, contributing about 6 × 1012 m3 of fresh water to the tropical Atlantic each year1,2. This is about 16% of the annual discharge into the world's oceans. Yet the fate of this water and of the dissolved and particulate material discharged with it3,4 has remained unclear. Previous observations of 300...
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Basic flow statistics from the two-year deployment of a mooring in the vicinity of 32N and 24W are presented, along with intercomparisons between SOFAR float results concurrent with the first year of moored instrument data. Current-temperature meters were deployed in the main thermocline (∼500 m depth), in Mediterranean Water (1000–1100 m depth) al...
Article
This report describes the general circulation and seasonal variation of currents in the equatorial Atlantic, concentrating on the North Equatorial Countercurrent (NECC), using data collected as part of the Seasonal Response of the Equatorial Atlantic and Programme Français Océan et Climat dans l'Atlantique Equatorial experiments plus historical shi...
Article
Historical ship drifts from the tropical Atlantic Ocean are compared with surface currents from a general circulation model forced with monthly mean climatological winds. The model accurately reproduces the spatial structure of the currents and its time dependence, which varies considerably from the eastern side of the basin, where a semiannual har...
Article
The seasonal variability of current velocities in the tropical Atlantic was studied by grouping ship drift velocity observations into 2°×5° boxes and calculating monthly mean velocity values. These values were used to calculate and map the annual mean velocity, the seasonal variation about the mean, the annual and semiannual harmonics, and the firs...
Article
A synthesis of near-surface oceanographic and surface meteorological data collected during the First GARP Global Experiment, FGGE, is presented to portray the oceanic response to the seasonal wind forcing for the period December 1978 to November 1979, inclusive. Major wind events during FGGE are in phase with events given in climatology. In particu...
Article
Shipboard hydrographic measurements and moored current meters are used to infer both the large-scale and mesoscale water mass distribution and features of the general circulation in the Canary Basin. We found a convoluted current system dominated by the time-dependent meandering of the eastward flowing Azores Current and the formation of mesoscale...
Article
In December 1883 the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office began to publish monthly Pilot Charts. These showed the positions and drifts of abandoned derelict sailing vessels and other danger to navigation in the North Atlantic. During the years 1887–1893 a total of 1,628 derelict sightings were made. The repeated sightings of 200 derelicts identified by na...
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Long-term current measurements made with surface drifters, SOFAR floats at 700 m and 2000 m, and current meters at 4000 m have been combined to produce for the first time a vertical section of directly measured average zonal currents in and adjacent to the Gulf Stream. The results from the different data sets are remarkably consistent in showing th...
Article
In December 1883 the U.S. Navy Hydrographic Office, a branch of the Bureau of Navigation of the Navy Department, began to publish monthly Pilot Charts. Earlier, oceanographer M.F. Maury had produced some summary survey charts showing ocean currents, winds, sailing routes, and the locations of whales. The new charts were unique in that they showed u...
Article
During 1983, 21 freely drifting buoys measured trajectories in the vicinity of the Atlantic North Equatorial Countercurrent. These provide a visualization of the flow field and the first direct measure of the seasonal variation of the velocity during a single year. From February to May the buoys moved gradually westward. From June to December the b...
Article
Current meters were moored at depths of 20, 50, 75 and 150 m near 6N, 28W from February 25 to September 13, 1983. From February to May the low frequency zonal velocity was slow and westward. From May to September the zonal velocity was eastward with peak (low passed) speeds up to 60 cm sec-1. During July the eastward flow was approximately 40 cm se...
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Surface currents in the tropical Atlantic were studied using historical ship-drift data. These are the only available data capable of resolving the long-term seasonal fluctuations of currents over a broad geographical region. The North Equatorial Countercurrent was found to extend as a continuous eastward-flowing current across the Atlantic in the...
Article
One hundred ten satellite-tracked freely drifting buoys measured velocities and trajectories of the near-surface currents in the North Atlantic. Mean velocity values and the velocity variance about the mean were calculated for different regions. A horizontal map of eddy kinetic energy was prepared on the 2/sup 0/ x 2/sup 0/ grid between latitudes 2...
Article
Ocean current observations made by drifting buoys, SOFAR floats, and current meters are combined to produce the first section of eddy kinetic energy through the Gulf Stream and subtropical gyre along 55°W. Eddy kinetic energy peaks at 2000 cm2s-2 in the surface Gulf Stream near 39°N and decreases latitudinally and vetically to a low of 0.5 cm2s-2 i...
Chapter
Gulf Stream rings are a special type of eddy whose origin has been well documented; they form from cut-off Gulf Stream meanders (Fuglister 1972). Rings are the most energetic eddies in the ocean and their thermocline displacements, swirl speeds and volume transports are nearly equivalent to those of the Gulf Stream.
Article
SOFAR (sound fixing and ranging) floats deployed for engineering tests during 1977–79 yield the first long-term quasi-Lagrangian observations in the subsurface Gulf Stream System. The character of these float tracks supports the premise that the Gulf Stream is a persistent, large-scale, vertically coherent jet at depths (approximately) within and a...
Article
In 1980, SOFAR (sound fixing and ranging) floats were tracked acoustically in the western North Atlantic entirely by means of moored autonomous listening stations. During a 5-month period 17 float trajectories were obtained in the eastern (45 degrees to 65 degrees W) Gulf Stream and subtropical gyre interior at depths of 700 and 2000 meters. These...
Article
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During 1975–78, 35 free-drifting buoys measured surface currents in the Gulf Stream region. The buoy trajectories trace numerous paths of the Stream and show that the Stream is strongly influenced by the New England Seamounts. This influence is manifested as 1) a quasi-permanent, 100 km, southeastward deflection of the Stream and the frequent occur...
Article
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 t...
Article
Free-drifting buoys in the Gulf Stream system have shown that surface currents are frequently strongly influenced by individual seamounts as well as by clusters of seamounts. The result is that mesoscale eddies are formed over and in the lee of seamounts and that these eddies extend all the way to the surface where they are detected by buoys as reg...
Article
A cyclonic ring formed by the Kuroshio Extension southeast of Japan was observed over a 50-day period in 1976 by XBT (expendable bathythermograph), STD (salinity-temperature-depth recorder), and a free-drifting surface buoy. The ring, estimated to be 4 months old, was 240 km in diameter and extended to a depth of at least 3000 m. The satellite-trac...
Article
Six free-drifting buoys tracked by the Nimbus 6 satellite were successfully launched by C-130 aircraft in a series of deployments during 1977-1979. The buoys were launched in Gulf Stream rings which had been identified with airborne XBT surveys and satellite infrared images. This is the first operational test of these air-deployable buoys.
Article
A print of the Benjamin Franklin and Timothy Folger 1769-1770 chart of the Gulf Stream, all copies of which have been "lost" for nearly 200 years, was found in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. This is the first chart of the Gulf Stream and continues today to be a good summary of its strength, course, and breadth.
Article
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During the period 1976–78, the movement of 14 Gulf Stream rings, including two anticyclonic and 12 cyclonic rings, was measured with satellite-tracked free-drifting buoys. The buoys in the cyclonic rings showed a tendency to move out toward the high-velocity region of the ring and to remain there circling the center. One buoy stayed in a ring as lo...