Small Eddies in Lake Superior and Their Relation to the Seasonal Thermal Front

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 4:45 PM
Benjamin Holt1, Michelle M Gierach1, Katsumi Matsumoto2 and Paul J. McKinney2, (1)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, United States
Making use of the fine resolution of satellite SAR, sunglint, and thermal IR imagery, we observe small eddies during the spring and summer months in Lake Superior, which are important in lake mixing and nearshore water quality. During these months there is a thermal gradient between warmer near shore waters and colder offshore waters which enhances cyclonic coastal currents, as identified by sea surface temperature (SST) imagery for Lake Superior from the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer, over the period 1995-2012. In this study, we will compare the location, diameter, rotational sense, and seasonality of identified eddies in terms of the strength of the thermal gradient and general circulation patterns within the lake to identify possible patterns of eddy formation, evolution, and dissipation.