The MARE project studies the effects of inter-ocean exchange between the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, via Agulhas rings, on the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation. The field programme of MARE concentrates on the study of the decay and modification of a single Agulhas ring named Astrid, formed in January 2000. The ring was clearly visible in the analysis of satellite altimetry data, and surface drifters confirmed the anti-cyclonic rotation. During a detailed survey of this 2-month-old ring in March 2000, it appeared that the water mass properties of this ring only differed from the surrounding water above the 12°C isotherm. The observed fine-structure near its boundary suggested that exchange of water with its surroundings already had started. Observations with a lowered acoustic Doppler current profiler showed that the ring had a significant barotropic component, additional to the baroclinic flow around its warm centre. Meteorological observations indicated that during the summer survey the ring was losing heat to the atmosphere. This heat loss maintained convective mixing in the surface mixed layer. Compared to other reported rings, Astrid had a very large kinetic energy, a property probably characteristic for very young Agulhas rings. In other aspects Astrid did not differ strongly from the other rings, although Astrid was slightly larger than their typical ‘average’ size.
HM van Aken, AK van Veldhoven, C Veth, WPM de Ruijter, PJ van Leeuwen, SS Drijfhout, CP Whittle, M Rouault. Observations of a young Agulhas ring, Astrid, during MARE in March 2000.
published, Deep-Sea Res., 2003, 50