Mesoscale Eddies in the Fram Strait marginal ice zone during the 1983 and 1984 marginal ice zone experiments

J. A. Johannessen, O. M. Johannessen, E. Svendsen, R. Shuchman, T. Manley, W. J. Campbell, E. G. Josberger, S. Sandven, J. C Gascard, T. Olaussen, K. Davidson, J. Van Leer

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106 Scopus citations


During the summer Marginal Ice Zone Experiment in Fram Strait in 1983 and 1984, fourteen mesoscale eddies, in both deep and shallow water, were studied between 78° and 81°N. Sampling combined satellite and aircraft remote sensing observations, conductivity-temperature-depth observations, drift of surface and subsurface floats and current meter measurements. Typical scales of these eddies were 20-40 km. Rotation was mainly cyclonic with a maximum speed, in several cases subsurface of up to 40 cm s -1. Observations further suggest that the eddy lifetime was at least 20 to 30 days. Five generation sources are suggested for these eddies. Several of the eddies were topographically trapped, while others, primarily formed by combined baroclinic and barotropic instability, moved as much as 10-15 km d-1 with the mean current. The vorticity balance in the nontrapped eddies is dominated by the stretching of iso-pycnals accompanied by a change in the radial shear. In the most completely observed, eddy south of 79°N the available potential energy exceeded the kinetic energy by a factor of 2. Quantitative estimates suggest that the abundance of these eddies enhances the ice edge melt up to 1-2 km d-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6754-6772
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue numberC7
StatePublished - Jun 30 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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