An Observed Regime Shift in the Formation of Warm Core Rings from the Gulf Stream

TitleAn Observed Regime Shift in the Formation of Warm Core Rings from the Gulf Stream
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGangopadhyay, A, Gawarkiewicz, G, E. Silva, NS, Monim, M, Clark, J
JournalScientific Reports
Type of ArticleJournal Article

We present observational evidence that a significant regime change occurred around the year 2000 in the formation of Warm Core Rings (WCRs) from the Gulf Stream (GS) between 75° and 55°W. The dataset for this study is a set of synoptic oceanographic charts available over the thirty-eight-year period of 1980–2017. The upward regime change shows an increase to 33 WCRs per year during 2000–2017 from an average of 18 WCRs during 1980 to 1999. A seasonal analysis confirms May-June-July as the peak time for WCR births in agreement with earlier studies. The westernmost region (75°-70°W) is least ring-productive, while the region from 65°W to 60°W is most productive. This regime shift around 2000 is detected in WCR formation for all of the four 5-degree wide sub-regions and the whole region (75°-55°W). This might be related to a reduction of the deformation radius for ring formation, allowing unstable meanders to shed more frequent rings in recent years. A number of possible factors resulting in such a regime shift related to the possible changes in reduced gravity, instability, transport of the GS, large-scale changes in the wind system and atmospheric fluxes are outlined, which suggest new research directions. The increase in WCRs has likely had an impact on the marine ecosystem since 2000, a topic worthy for future studies.


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