Pattern of vertical velocity in the Lofoten vortex (the Norwegian Sea)

Igor Bashmachnikov, Tatyana Belonenko, Pavel Kuibin, Denis Volkov, Victor Foux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Mean radial distributions of various dynamic characteristics of the permanently existing anticyclonic Lofoten vortex (LV) in the Norwegian Sea are obtained from an eddy-permitting regional hydrodynamic MIT general circulation model. It is shown that the model adequately reproduces the observed 3D thermohaline and dynamic structure of the vortex. The obtained radial distribution of the mean vertical velocity is found to form a complex structure: with the upward fluxes along the axis in and above the anticyclonically rotating LV core, compensated by the downward fluxes in the vortex skirt. These vertical motions maintain the vortex potential energy anomaly against dissipation. This secondary circulation is generated by the centrifugal force and, to a lesser extent, by the horizontal dispersion of the vortex energy, both intensified towards the sea surface. Below the vortex core, the maximum downward vertical velocity converges towards the vortex axis with depth. At these depth levels, the secondary circulation is forced by Ekman divergence in the bottom mixed layer. The theory of columnar vortices with helical structure, applied to the LV, relate the radial profiles of the vertical velocity with those of the horizontal circulation. The theoretically predicted the radial patterns of the mean vertical velocity in the LV were close to those, obtained from the primitive equation ocean model, when approximating the radial patterns of the azimuthal velocity with the Rayleigh profile.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1725
Number of pages15
JournalOcean Dynamics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


  • Columnar vortex
  • Divergence
  • Lofoten vortex
  • MIT hydrodynamic model
  • Norwegian Sea
  • Vertical velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography


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