Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 18, Issue 5, pp 1203–1226 | Cite as

Interaction of North Brazil Current rings with the Lesser Antilles Arc and Barbados Island: laboratory experiments and observations

  • R. C. Cruz-GómezEmail author
  • Heriberto J. Vazquez
Original Article


The interaction of North Brazil Current (NBC) rings with the Lesser Antilles Arc (LAA) and the Barbados Island (BI) is addressed by experimental modeling and observations. Our results compare well with previous experimental results and numerical simulations. Several sizes, intensities and two different vorticity profiles (non-isolated and initially isolated vortices) were tested. Three regimes were found namely: (1) the vortex surrounds the BI and its translational motion (TM) stops North of BI; (2) the vortex passes through the corridor between the LAA and the BI by reducing its size; and (3) The vortex stopped at the entrance to the corridor South of the BI. Isolated vortices were prone to stopped North of the BI. Apparently the intensity in the outer vorticity ring has an influence on the fate of the NBC ring. Non-isolated vortices can also stop its TM North of the BI because when in \(\beta\) plane they develop an outer ring similar to the isolated vortices. From these results we conclude that intense and big NBC rings are likely to stop its TM North of the BI. Medium and moderate vortices stops its TM South of the BI and they reduce their size until they are able to pass through the corridor between the LAA and the BI. Mild vortices of all sizes stop South of the corridor, close to the BI and the LAA. Drifter trajectories and Sea Surface Height altimetry confirm the results.


NBC rings Lesser Antilles Arc Isolated vortex Non-isolated vortex Rotating table 



The experiments were performed at the rotating table of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of CUCEI, Universidad de Guadalajara, México. HJV was supported by the Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-15-1-2285. The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and discussions with Patrice Le Gal on early versions of the manuscript and the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions to improve the quality of this manuscript. The altimeter products were produced by Ssalto/Duacs and distributed by Aviso, with support from CNES ( We thank the NOAA’s Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) team for buoys data.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de FísicaUniversidad de GuadalajaraGuadalajaraMéxico
  2. 2.Scripps Institution of Oceanography, CASPOSan DiegoUSA

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