Mesoscale Eddies in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean: Three-Dimensional Eddy Structures and Heat/Salt Transports
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2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. The region encompassing the Kuroshio Extension (KE) in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean (25N45N and 130E180E) is one of the most eddy-energetic regions of the global ocean. The three-dimensional structures and transports of mesoscale eddies in this region are comprehensively investigated by combined use of satellite data and Argo profiles. With the allocation of Argo profiles inside detected eddies, the spatial variations of structures of eddy temperature and salinity anomalies are analyzed. The results show that eddies predominantly have subsurface (near-surface) intensified temperature and salinity anomalies south (north) of the KE jet, which is related to different background stratifications between these regions. A new method based on eddy trajectories and the inferred three-dimensional eddy structures is proposed to estimate heat and salt transports by eddy movements in a Lagrangian framework. Spatial distributions of eddy transports are presented over the vicinity of the KE for the first time. The magnitude of eddy-induced meridional heat (freshwater volume) transport is on the order of 0.01 PW (103 m3/s). The eddy heat transport divergence results in an oceanic heat loss south and heat gain north of the KE, thereby reinforcing and counteracting the oceanic heat loss from air-sea fluxes south and north of the KE jet, respectively. It also suggests a poleward heat transport across the KE jet due to eddy propagation.