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Changes in the Loop Current's Eddy Shedding in the Period 2001–2010

DOI: 10.1155/2012/439042

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A major change in the Loop Current's eddy shedding was found in the decade 2001–2010. Sixteen (16) rings separated from the Loop Current in that decade, whereas in two previous decades, 11 rings separated in each decade. More than half the rings (i.e., 56%) that separated from the Loop Current in the decade 2001–2010 had separation periods ≤8 months. In the period prior to 2001, only 26% of the rings had separation periods ≤8 months. Furthermore, the dataset average period for ring separation for the period prior to 2001, an average over a 29-year period, was about 11 months, and the dataset average Loop Current's westward tilt angle—a factor that indicates whether the Loop Current will soon shed an eddy or not—was about 16°. After the year 2000, the dataset average period for ring separation, an average over a 39-year period, decreased by about 1 month and was about 10 months. The average ring-separation period in the decade 2001–2010 was about 9 months. The dataset average of the Loop Current's westward tilt angle increased by about 5° in the period 1998–2008 and was about 20° in 2010. Potential causes for these changes are discussed.


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