Submesoscale and Mesoscale Eddies in the Florida Straits: Observations from Satellite Ocean Color Measurements

Yingjun Zhang, Chuanmin Hu, Yonggang Liu, Robert H. Weisberg, Vassiliki H. Kourafalou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Despite their well-recognized importance in driving ocean physics and biology, submesoscale (diameter < Rossby radius of deformation) eddies have been extremely difficult to observe due to technical difficulties from both field and remote platforms. Here using novel satellite ocean color data products and modified algorithms, we address this challenge for the Florida Straits (22–28°N, 78–85°W). Between 2002 and 2018, while mesoscale eddies (radius >15 km) show strong seasonality with occurrence frequency decreasing from Lower Keys to Upper Keys, submesoscale eddies show little or no seasonality with high occurrence frequency restricted to 30–200-m isobaths. The number of mesoscale eddies decreases exponentially in size, but submesoscale eddies show a normal distribution in size. These findings are significant in filling our knowledge gap in submesoscale eddies in this physically and ecologically important region as it encompasses world-renowned coral reefs, seagrasses, and fisheries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13262-13270
Number of pages9
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 28 2019


  • Florida Keys
  • Florida Straits
  • mesoscale eddies
  • remote sensing
  • submesoscale eddies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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