SOFAR Float Observations of an Intermediate-Depth Eastern Boundary Current and Mesoscale Variability in the Eastern Tropical Atlantic Ocean* Academic Article uri icon


  • Two neutrally buoyant SOFAR floats vigorously looped and meandered at depths of 950-1150 m in the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean. The float trajectories illustrate a poleward how along the tropical eastern boundary and significant intermediate-depth mesoscale variability in the low-latitude eastern basin. One float, caught within an energetic cyclonic eddy near the eastern boundary, looped cyclonically 14 times while translating 600 km northward parallel to the African coastline. A second float. launched near the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, meandered eastward with a Lagrangian zonal wavelength of 400 km and meridional amplitude exceeding 200 km. Satellite infrared imagery indicates that horizontal shear associated with the system of near-surface zonal equatorial currents may contribute to the observed intermediate-depth variability.

publication date

  • June 1999