The most typical shape of oceanic mesoscale eddies from global satellite sea level observations
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In this research, we normalized the characteristics of ocean eddies by using satellite observation of the Sea Level Anomaly (SLA) data to determine the most typical shape of ocean eddies. This normalization is based on modified analytic functions with nonlinear optimal fitting. The most typical eddy is the Taylor vortex (∼50%), which exhibits a Gaussian-shaped exp(−r 2) SLA and a vorticity distribution of (1 − r 2)exp(−r 2) as a function of the normalized radii r. The larger the amplitude of the eddy, the more likely the eddy is to be Gaussian-shaped. Furthermore, approximately 40% of ocean eddies are combinations of two Gaussian eddies with different parameters, but the composition of these types of eddies is more like a quadratic eddy than a Gaussian one. Only a small portion of oceanic eddies are pure quadratic eddies (<10%) with the same vorticity distribution as a Rankine vortex. We concluded that the Taylor vortex is a good approximation of the typical shape of ocean eddies.
Keywordssea level anomaly ocean eddies Taylor vortex typical shape
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