Physical Characteristics and Evolution of a Long-Lasting Mesoscale Cyclonic Eddy in the Straits of Florida

Yingjun Zhang, Chuanmin Hu, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou, Yonggang Liu, Dennis J. McGillicuddy, Brian B. Barnes, Julia M. Hummon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ocean eddies along the Loop Current (LC)/Florida Current (FC) front have been studied for decades, yet studies of the entire evolution of individual eddies are rare. Here, satellite altimetry and ocean color observations, Argo profiling float records and shipborne acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) measurements, together with high-resolution simulations from the global Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) are used to investigate the physical and biochemical properties, 3-dimensional (3-D) structure, and evolution of a long-lasting cyclonic eddy (CE) in the Straits of Florida (SoF) along the LC/FC front during April–August 2017. An Angular Momentum Eddy Detection Algorithm (AMEDA) is used to detect and track the CE during its evolution process. The long-lasting CE is found to form along the eastern edge of the LC on April 9th, and remained quasi-stationary for about 3 months (April 23 to July 15) off the Dry Tortugas (DT) until becoming much smaller due to its interaction with the FC and topography. This frontal eddy is named a Tortugas Eddy (TE) and is characterized with higher Chlorophyll (Chl) and lower temperature than surrounding waters, with a mean diameter of ∼100 km and a penetrating depth of ∼800 m. The mechanisms that contributed to the growth and evolution of this long-lasting TE are also explored, which reveal the significant role of oceanic internal instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number779450
JournalFrontiers in Marine Science
StatePublished - Mar 30 2022


  • ADCP
  • Argo profiling float
  • cyclonic eddy
  • Dry Tortugas
  • global HYCOM
  • ocean color
  • satellite altimetry
  • Straits of Florida

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Ocean Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical Characteristics and Evolution of a Long-Lasting Mesoscale Cyclonic Eddy in the Straits of Florida'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this