TOPEX/Poseidon observations of mesoscale eddies over the Subtropical Countercurrent: Kinematic characteristics of an anticyclonic eddy and a cyclonic eddy

Cheinway Hwang, Chau Ron Wu, Ricky Kao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

71 Citations (Scopus)


Relative dynamic, heights and geostrophic fields were derived from TOPEX/Poseidon altimetry data and then used to track mesoscale eddies over the Subtropical Countercurrent (STCC). The radii, centers, vorticities, shearing deformation rates, stretching deformation rates, divergences, and center velocities of all identified eddies over the STCC were determined using a model that assumes constant velocity gradients. Most eddies are concentrated in a zonal band near 22°N, and there is an interannual variation in the number of eddies. A case study was made for a cyclonic eddy and an anticyclonic eddy, with time series of eddy kinematic parameters computed. Both eddies survive for ∼220 days and propagate westward along over 22°N-24°N to reach the Kuroshio Current east coast of Taiwan, where the-eddies were dissipated and in turn affected the Kuroshio Current in many ways. Sea surface temperature data and drifter data confirm the existence of these two eddies. The radii of both eddies vary and their shapes are mostly elliptical during propagation. The anticyclonic eddy propagated almost westward with oscillating north-south components, and the mean speed is 8.3 km/day. The cyclonic eddy moved southwestward before reaching 130°E and then moved northwestward, with a mean speed of 7.6 km/day. The propagations of these two eddies are basically consistent with the standard theory of eddy propagation but with larger speeds. The propagating direction could be altered while passing steep bottom topography or merging with the other eddies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)C08013 1-17
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research C: Oceans
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Aug 15



  • Mesoscale eddies
  • Subtropical Countercurrent
  • TOPEX/Poseidon

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

Cite this