|Numerical study of eddy generation in the western part of the Gulf of Lion |
(Article) Publié: -Journal Of Geophysical Research-Oceans, vol. 116 p.C12030 (2011)
Ref HAL: hal-00691185_v1
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A realistic numerical model is used to investigate the generation process of anticyclonic eddies located in the western part of the Gulf of Lion. During 8 years of simulations from 2001 to 2008, 8 anticyclonic coastal eddies with a life duration longer than 15 days have been observed in the study area between July and early October. The formation process of eddies is linked to the wind stress curl in the area. Nonetheless a simpler criteria can be used examining the changes in the wind amplitude at a key coastal station. The influences of this factor and of the stratification conditions over the study area are investigated, alone or combined, regarding the eddy's formation process. Our results show that these eddies need two conditions to be generated: a persistent and strong northwest wind and a strong stratification. The Ekman transport associated to such a wind and the coastline shape characterized by the presence of capes can create a pressure gradient generating an anticyclonic circulation. At the same time, a strong stratification condition allows a better transfer of wind-induced potential energy to eddy kinetic energy. Persistent wind bursts are also required to sustain the eddy in size and intensity. The present work contributes to a better understanding of the hydrodynamics of the Gulf of Lion.