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International Journal of Oceanography
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 439042, 18 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/439042
Research Article

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

FMV Atmospheric and Marine Consultants, 8033 Hawkshead Rd, Wake Forest, NC 27587, USA

Received 27 July 2011; Revised 22 September 2011; Accepted 21 December 2011

Academic Editor: Grant Bigg

Copyright © 2012 Fred M. Vukovich. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

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.