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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-51
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 12 Jun 2019

Submitted as: research article | 12 Jun 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of this manuscript was accepted for the journal Ocean Science (OS) and is expected to appear here in due course.

The Impact of Upwelling on the Intensification of Anticyclonic Ocean Eddies in the Caribbean Sea

Carine G. van der Boog1, Julie D. Pietrzak1, Henk A. Dijkstra2, Nils Brüggemann5, René M. van Westen2, Rebecca K. James3, Tjeerd J. Bouma3, Riccardo E. M. Riva4, D. Cornelis Slobbe4, Roland Klees4, Marcel Zijlema1, and Caroline A. Katsman1 Carine G. van der Boog et al.
  • 1Environmental Fluid Mechanics, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, 3584 CC Utrecht, the Netherlands
  • 3Estuarine and Delta Systems, Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University, Korringaweg 7, 4401 NT Yerseke, the Netherlands
  • 4Geoscience and Remote Sensing, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, the Netherlands
  • 5University of Hamburg, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. The mesoscale variability in the Caribbean Sea is dominated by anticyclonic eddies that are formed in the eastern part of the basin. These anticyclones intensify on their path westward while they pass the coastal upwelling region along the Venezuelan and Colombian coast. In this study, we used a regional model to show that this westward intensification of Caribbean anticyclones is driven by the advection of cold upwelling filaments. These dense filaments are advected by the anticyclones, leading to an increase of the horizontal density gradients at the western side of the anticyclones. Following the thermal wind balance, the increased density gradients result in an increase of the vertical shear of the anticyclones and to their westward intensification. To assess the impact of variations in upwelling on the anticyclones, several simulations were performed in which the northward Ekman transport (and thus the upwelling strength) is altered. As expected, stronger (weaker) upwelling is associated with more stronger (weaker) offshore cooling and a more (less) westward intensification of the anticyclones. The simulations with weaker upwelling show farther advection of the Amazon and Orinoco River plumes into the basin. The dispersion of the river plumes affects the formation process of the anticyclones, where the horizontal density gradients were mainly determined by the salinity gradients of the river plume and not by temperature gradients that were associated with upwelling.

Carine G. van der Boog et al.
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Carine G. van der Boog et al.
Carine G. van der Boog et al.
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Short summary
We use a model of the Caribbean Sea to study how coastal upwelling along Venezuela impacts the evolution of energetic anticyclonic eddies. We show that the anticyclones grow by the advection of the cold upwelling filaments. These filaments increase the density gradient and vertical shear of the anticyclones. Furthermore, we show that stronger upwelling results in stronger eddies, while model simulations with weaker upwelling contain weaker eddies.
We use a model of the Caribbean Sea to study how coastal upwelling along Venezuela impacts the...
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