Aircraft Observations of a Cyclonic Eddy South of the Gulf Stream
NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE NSTL STATION MS
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A series of aircraft observations of sea surface temperature in March 1967 revealed the formation of a cyclonic eddy south of the Gulf Stream. These observations were made with an airborne radiation thermometer from an altitude of 300 meters. A meander in the Gulf Stream, appearing as a tongue of cold water and extending 150 km southward into the Sargasso Sea, was located on 1 March near 37 degrees N, 66 degrees W. By 16 March an elliptical-shaped eddy had formed from the meander, with its major axis oriented northeast-southwest. Surface temperatures in the eddy averaged 10C, whereas the temperature of the water surrounding the eddy averaged 20C. During the next 21 days, the eddy shrank in size at the surface and migrated about 5 kmday southeastward. The surface temperature contrast at the boundary of the eddy also decreased from 10 to 5C. Aircraft bathythermograms showed the eddy to be a dome of cold water extending to a depth of at least 300 meters.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography