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Dynamics at an elongated, intermediate depth seamount in the North Atlantic (Sedlo Seamount, 40°20′N, 26°40′W)

AuthorsMohn, Christian; White, Martin; Bashmachnikov, Igor; Jose, Felix; Pelegrí, Josep Lluís CSIC ORCID
KeywordsSeamount dynamics
Taylor Cones
Sedlo Seamount
Vortex pair
Issue DateDec-2009
CitationDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography 56(25): 2582-2592 (2009)
AbstractObservations from a five-mooring array deployed in the vicinity of Sedlo Seamount over a 4-month period, together with supporting hydrographic and underway ADCP measurements, are described. Sedlo Seamount is an elongated, intermediate depth seamount with three separate peaks, rising from 2200 m water depth to summit peaks between 950 and 780 m depth, located at 40°20′N, 26°40W. Currents measured in depth range 750 and 820 m – the layer close to the summit depth of the shallowest southeast peak – showed a mean anti-cyclonic flow around the seamount, with residual current velocities of 2–5 cm s−1. Significant mesoscale variability was present at this level, and this is attributed to the weak and variable background impinging flow. Stronger, more persistent currents were found at the summit mooring as a result of tidal rectification and some weak amplification. Below 1300 m, currents were extremely weak, even close to the seabed. Time series of relative vorticity for the depth layer 750–820 m showed persistent anti-cyclonic vorticity except for two periods of cyclonic vorticity. A mean relative vorticity of −0.06f (f=the local Coriolis frequency) was calculated from a triangle of current meters located at the flanks of the seamount. Modelling results confirmed that anti-cyclonic flow above the seamount was likely due to Taylor Cone generation driven by a combination of steady impinging and tidally rectified flow. The closed circulation pattern over the seamount was found to extend to not, vert, similar150 m above the summit level, consistent with simple idealised theory and the supporting hydrographic observations. At shallower depths (<500 m) model simulations predicted a predominantly cyclonic recirculation most likely controlled by topographic steering along the zonal axis of the seamount. There was some indication of flow reversal at these depths from Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) measurements carried out at one hydrographic survey. The model results were in good agreement with observations at the seamount summit, but were unable to reproduce the mesoscale variability patterns recorded in shallower layers. Kinetic energy patterns derived from the model revealed high variability in the oceanic far field downstream of the seamount summit probably as a result of complex flow interaction along the chain of seamount peaks. Possible impacts of the flow dynamics on the biological functioning at Sedlo Seamount and its surroundings are discussed
Description11 pages, 11 figures, 1 table
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