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Observed spatiotemporal variation of three-dimensional structure and heat/salt transport of anticyclonic mesoscale eddy in Northwest Pacific


As in-situ observations are sparse, targeted observations of a specific mesoscale eddy are rare. Therefore, it is difficult to study the three-dimensional structure of moving mesoscale eddies. From April to September 2014, an anticyclonic eddy located at 135°E–155°E, 26°N–42°N was observed using 17 rapid-sampling Argo floats, and the spatiotemporal variations in the three-dimensional structure were studied. The results are as follows: (1) the eddy was identified and tracked using satellite altimeter data. It had a lifetime of 269 days and an average radius of 91.5 km. The lifetime of the eddy can be divided into three phases, i.e., the initiation, maturity, and termination phases. The depth of its influence reached 1 000 m; (2) the Argo profiles were divided into seven periods (approximately 20 days in each) for composite analysis, and the composite Argo profiles and CARS2009 (CSIRO Atlas of Regional Seas) climatology data were merged following the data-interpolating variational analysis (DIVA) method to reconstruct the three-dimensional structure. The temperature and salinity anomaly cores of the anticyclonic mesoscale eddy are located from 500 to 600 m. From 800 to 900 m, there is an area of low salinity at the center of the eddy. A high concentration anomaly of dissolved oxygen was located at approximately 250 m; (3) to better understand the features of the eddy and its interaction with the surroundings, we calculated the anomalous velocity of the geostrophic flow and the heat, salt, dissolved oxygen transport anomaly, and discussed the eddy’s origin and its adjustments to topography. The maximum heat, salt, and oxygen transport caused by eddy were 9.37×1011 W, 3.08×103 kg/s, and 2.70×102 kg/s, which all occurred during the termination phase. This study highlights the applicability of using Argo floats to understand the three-dimensional structure thermohaline features of eddies in the North Pacific.

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We thank reviewers for helpful suggestions. The program of eddy identification and tracking is from Dr. NI, and the program of calculating theoretical phase speed of Rossby waves is from Dr. WANG. The altimeter products used in this study are distributed by CMEMS (

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Correspondence to Huizan Wang.

Additional information

Supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2018YFC1406202) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos.41830964, 41976188, 41605051)

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Dai, J., Wang, H., Zhang, W. et al. Observed spatiotemporal variation of three-dimensional structure and heat/salt transport of anticyclonic mesoscale eddy in Northwest Pacific. J. Ocean. Limnol. (2020).

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  • Argo
  • three-dimensional structure
  • spatiotemporal variation
  • dissolved oxygen