Marine Science Faculty Publications

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Despite their well-recognized importance in driving ocean physics and biology, submesoscale (diameter < Rossby radius of deformation) eddies have been extremely difficult to observe due to technical difficulties from both field and remote platforms. Here using novel satellite ocean color data products and modified algorithms, we address this challenge for the Florida Straits (22–28°N, 78–85°W). Between 2002 and 2018, while mesoscale eddies (radius >15 km) show strong seasonality with occurrence frequency decreasing from Lower Keys to Upper Keys, submesoscale eddies show little or no seasonality with high occurrence frequency restricted to 30–200-m isobaths. The number of mesoscale eddies decreases exponentially in size, but submesoscale eddies show a normal distribution in size. These findings are significant in filling our knowledge gap in submesoscale eddies in this physically and ecologically important region as it encompasses world-renowned coral reefs, seagrasses, and fisheries.

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Geophysical Research Letters, v. 46, issue 22, p. 13262-13270

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