Weekly CASPO Seminar: Join us in Nierenberg 101 every Wednesday at 3:30 pm to hear about the latest and greatest in Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography!
Marta Trodahl (University of Oslo) will be presenting a talk titled "The regeneration of the Lofoten Vortex through vertical alignment."
Observations from the past decades have promoted the idea of a long-lived anticyclonic vortex residing in the Lofoten Basin. Although intense anticyclonic vortices have been repeatedly recorded, the observations cannot firmly decide whether this is the signature of a single vortex or a succession of ephemeral vortices. A vortex persisting for decades requires some reinvigoration mechanism. Wintertime convection and vortex merging are found as proposed candidates in the literature. In this study we examine Lofoten Basin vortex dynamics using a high-resolution regional ocean model. The model is initialized from a coarser state with a weak eddy field. The slope current intensifies and sheds anticyclonic eddies that drift into the basin. After half a year, an anticyclone arrives at the center, providing the nucleus for a vortex that remains distinct throughout the simulation. Analyses show that this vortex is regenerated by repeated absorption and vertical stacking of lighter anticyclones. This compresses and - in concert with potential vorticity conservation - intensifies the combined vortex, which becomes more vertically stratified and also expels some fluid in the process. Wintertime convection serves mainly to vertically homogenize and densify the vortex, rather than intensifying it. Further, topographic guiding of anticyclones shed from the continental slope are vital for the existence and reinvigoration of the Lofoten Vortex. These results offer a new perspective on the regeneration of oceanic anticyclones. In this scenario the Lofoten Vortex is maintained through repeated merging events. Fluid remains gradually exchanged although the vortex is identifiable as a persistent extrema in potential vorticity.
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