A Double-Thermostad Warm-Core Ring of the Gulf Stream

Igor M Belkin1, Annie Foppert2, H. Thomas Rossby1, Sandra Fontana3 and Christopher R Kincaid1, (1)University of Rhode Island, Narragansett, RI, United States, (2)Centre for Southern Hemisphere Oceans Research, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Hobart, Australia, Hobart, TAS, Australia, (3)University of Rhode Island, United States
A double-thermostad warm-core ring of the Gulf Stream was discovered in the Slope Sea, south of Georges Bank, during the R/V Endeavor Cruise 578 in May 2016. The ring’s stratification was peculiar as it included two thermostads at, respectively, 100-200 m (T=18.5°C, S=36.53) and 250-500 m (T=16.7°C, S=36.35). Extensive use of satellite data (SST imagery and SSH maps) allowed the life history of this ring to be reconstructed, with independent SST and SSH data mutually corroborating each other. The double-thermostad ring was formed by vertical alignment of two pre-existing warm-core anticyclonic rings of the Gulf Stream. The first ring spawned by the Gulf Stream in February has cooled by 2°C before merging in April with the second ring spawned by the Gulf Stream in March. During vertical alignment of these rings, the warmer ring overrode the colder ring, thereby forming the double-thermostad ring surveyed in May 2016. From ADCP sections through the ring, the upper and lower thermostads had different core relative vorticities of -0.65f and -0.77f respectively where f is the local Coriolis parameter. An in-depth literature survey has confirmed that this is the first report of a double-thermostad warm-core ring of the Gulf Stream and one of the best-documented cases of vertical alignment of two eddies ever observed in the World Ocean.