ISSN 2070-7401 (Print), ISSN 2411-0280 (Online)
Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa


Sovremennye problemy distantsionnogo zondirovaniya Zemli iz kosmosa, 2017, Vol. 14, No. 7, pp. 225-237

Long-term changes in large-scale circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean based on satellite altimetry

A.M. Fedorov 1 , A.A. Kubryakov 2, 1 , T.V. Belonenko 1 
1 Saint-Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
2 Marine Hydrophysical Institute RAS, Sevastopol, Russia
Accepted: 13.10.2017
DOI: 10.21046/2070-7401-2017-14-7-225-237
We analyze the variability of large-scale surface geostrophic circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean using satellite altimetry for the period 1993–2015. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation of linear trends of current variability is performed. The analysis of the trends of zonal and meridional velocity components is used to understand changes in direction of the currents. It is shown that the currents weaken over the major part of the basin. Maximum weakening is observed in the Gulf Stream, where it reaches 0.017 m/s per year. For the Gulf Stream, we show that an increase in current intensity is observed mainly at its southern periphery, while at the northern periphery, there is a significant decrease in its intensity. Constant weakening is also observed in the Caribbean Current, where velocity has decreased by ~ 10% over the investigated period. We have developed a field comparison of the “first” and “last” moments, calculated using trends, as fields at the beginning of 1993 and end of 2015. Comparison of these fields allow to identify the spatial variation of large-scale circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean. By using such kind of analysis, it was found that Subtropical Gyre becomes wider in the east-west direction. North Equatorial current and Equatorial Countercurrent shift north. Also, we can note that large-scale currents change their direction almost in each part of the observed area. Direction variations occur in Antilles, Azores, and Northern-Atlantic currents.
Keywords: currents, the North Atlantic Ocean, altimetry, the Gulf Stream, trends, large-scale circulation
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