Interannual and seasonal asymmetries in Gulf Stream Ring Formations from 1980 to 2019

TitleInterannual and seasonal asymmetries in Gulf Stream Ring Formations from 1980 to 2019
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSilver, A, Gangopadhyay, A, Gawarkiewicz, G, E. Silva, NS, Clark, J
JournalScientific Reports
Type of ArticleJournal Article

As the Gulf Stream separates from the coast, it sheds both Warm and Cold Core Rings between 75∘ and 55∘W. We present evidence that this ring formation behavior has been asymmetric over both interannual and seasonal time-scales. After a previously reported regime-shift in 2000, 15 more Warm Core Rings have been forming yearly compared to 1980–1999. In contrast, there have been no changes in the annual formation rate of the Cold Core Rings. This increase in Warm Core Ring production leads to an excess heat transfer of 0.10 PW to the Slope Sea, amounting to 7.7–12.4% of the total Gulf Stream heat transport, or 5.4–7.3% of the global oceanic heat budget at 30∘N. Seasonally, more Cold Core Rings are produced in the winter and spring and more Warm Core Rings are produced in the summer and fall leading to more summertime heat transfer to the north of the Stream. The seasonal cycle of relative ring formation numbers is strongly correlated (r = 0.82) with that of the difference in upper layer temperatures between the Sargasso and Slope seas. This quantification motivates future efforts to understand the recent increasing influence of the Gulf Stream on the circulation and ecosystem in the western North Atlantic.


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