Structure and Variability of the Antilles Current at 26.5°N

Christopher S. Meinen, William E. Johns, Ben I. Moat, Ryan H. Smith, Elizabeth M. Johns, Darren Rayner, Eleanor Frajka-Williams, Rigoberto F. Garcia, Silvia L. Garzoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Observations from five different systems provide a robust picture of the structure and variability of the Antilles Current, an important contributor to the oceanic flux budget, at 26.5°N during 2005–2015. The analysis includes three direct measurement technologies (current meters, shipboard acoustic Doppler current profilers, and lowered acoustic Doppler current profilers) and two geostrophy-based measurement technologies (conductivity-temperature-depth profilers and pressure-equipped inverted echo sounders). The direct systems are shown to produce weaker, and less variable, Antilles Current transport estimates than the geostrophy-based systems. The record-length-mean geostrophic estimate for the Antilles Current is 4.7 Sverdrups (Sv; 1 Sv = 106 m3/s), and the daily temporal standard deviation is 7.5 Sv. The variations of the Antilles Current transport exceed those of the entire basin-wide meridional overturning circulation, illustrating the impact of this unusual current. Seasonal variability shows a maximum northward transport in August–September; however, the seasonal component of the variability is weak, and aliasing of higher frequencies is still a problem even with 10.5 years of data. The dominant time scales of variability in the spectra are at 70 and 180 days, and there is indication of westward propagation of Rossby Wave-like features into the region at a speed of 9 cm/s. There is no significant correlation between the Antilles Current transport variations and those of the Florida Current at 27°N, in phase or at lags/leads of up to 5 years, likely reflecting the varying coastal wave/wall jet time scales for information to pass from the basin interior through the Bahamas Islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3700-3723
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Antilles Current
  • PIES
  • current meter
  • transport
  • variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology


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