Genesis, evolution, and apocalypse of Loop Current rings

F. Andrade-Canto, D. Karrasch, F. J. Beron-Vera

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We carry out assessments of the life cycle of Loop Current vortices, so-called rings, in the Gulf of Mexico by applying three objective (i.e., observer-independent) coherent Lagrangian vortex detection methods on velocities derived from satellite altimetry measurements of the sea-surface height (SSH). The methods reveal material vortices with boundaries that withstand stretching or diffusion or whose fluid elements rotate evenly. This involved a technology advance that enables framing vortex genesis and apocalypse robustly and with precision in a truly parameter-free fashion. We find that the stretching- and diffusion-withstanding assessments produce consistent results, which show large discrepancies with Eulerian assessments that identify vortices with regions instantaneously filled with streamlines of the SSH field. The even-rotation assessment, which is vorticity-based, is found to be quite unstable, suggesting life expectancies much shorter than those produced by all other assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116603
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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