An Observation-Based Study of Gulf Stream Meander Kinematics Offshore of Cape Hatteras
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An Observation-Based Study of Gulf Stream Meander Kinematics Offshore of Cape Hatteras

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  • Journal Title:
    Frontiers in Marine Science
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    Gulf Stream (GS) meander structure and propagation offshore of Cape Hatteras are investigated by integrating current measurements from a bottom-moored Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) with high-frequency radar (HFR) surface current measurements and satellite Sea Surface Temperature (SST) images during November 2014. The ADCP measurements provide well-resolved current observations throughout most of the water column, while hourly surface current measurements from HF radars and available satellite SST images provide spatial context to the GS orientation, meander propagation, circulation, and shear structure in the region of the ADCP mooring. The observations provide new insights about meander propagation and evolution in this important transition region. ADCP measurements observed that the increase and deepening intervals of the downstream current with approaching meander crests were typically longer than those for the decrease and shoaling of downstream current, consistent with prominent skewed crests near the surface. The transition time from trough to crest is much greater than that from crest to trough, reflecting the asymmetry in the downstream velocity structure. Vertical shears in the downstream and cross-stream velocity components are indicative of a cold dome centered downslope and offshore of the ADCP. Local maxima in downstream current and bottom temperature at the ADCP occur simultaneously, are accompanied by large vertical velocities, and are led by offshore currents in the upper water column. The mean meander phase speed estimated with HFRs is 48 km/day. Meander periods during the month are about 5-6 days. Where the maxima are seen in the water column, downstream currents reach 2.5 m/s, with current reversals sometimes in excess of 0.5 m/s. Downstream currents occupy an increasing portion of the water column as a crest approaches, and a decreasing fraction as a trough approaches. The deepening increase in downstream velocities with approaching crests is often accompanied by an increase in upstream velocities near the bottom.
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    Frontiers in Marine Science, 9
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    CC BY
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