The Role of Western Boundary Current Eddies on the Across-Shelf Exchange: An Integrated Study Using Remote Sensing Time Series, In-Situ Observations, and Numerical Modeling

Sponsor:  National Aeronautics and Space Administration


University of Georgia: Renato Castelao

Funding period

January 2013 – January 2018


We combine satellite observations, in situ data, and three-dimensional numerical model simulations to investigate the role of Gulf Stream eddies and meanders on the exchange between the coastal and the deep ocean in the South Atlantic Bight. Our overarching research goal is to quantify how eddies influence the intrusion and the fate of the Gulf Stream waters on the SAB shelf, as well as their role transporting shelf waters offshore toward the Stream and into the deep ocean.
We propose to answer a set of fundamental research questions: (a) What are the spatial and temporal distributions of Gulf Stream eddies and meanders off the South Atlantic Bight? (b) How do Gulf Stream eddies and meanders relate to exchange of water between the coastal and the deep ocean? (c) What controls the variability in eddy-induced cross-isobath exchange off the South Atlantic Bight?
We hypothesize that: (H1) Gulf Stream eddies and meanders are the primary mechanism responsible for bi-directional (i.e., onshore and offshore) cross-isobath flows in the South Atlantic Bight; (H2) The dynamics and structure of the eddy-induced cross-isobath exchange are modulated by interactions with the varying shelf topography and stratification, wind forcing, and Gulf Stream position.
We use satellite observations, complemented by depth-resolving in situ measurements, and a data-assimilative, high-resolution three-dimensional numerical model.


Work is in progress.

Publications produced in conjunction with this project:

Bane, J., R. He, M. Muglia, Y. Gong, and C. Lowcher (2017) Marine hydrokinetic energy from western boundary currents, Annual Review of Marine Science, 9:7.1-7.19, doi: 10.1146/annurev-marine-010816-060423. [PDF]

Zeng, X. and R. He (2016) Gulf Stream variability and a triggering mechanism of its large meander in the South Atlantic Bight, Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, doi: 10.1002/2016JC012077. [PDF]

Chen, K. and R. He (2015) Mean circulation in the coastal ocean off northeastern North America from a regional-scale ocean model, Ocean Science, 11, 503-517, doi: 10.5194/os-11-503-2015. [PDF]