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Image : Day Eight - September 26, 2007

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This figure shows the probable locations of several Irminger Rings in color shading. The data are from a satellite that measures sea surface height. Just like high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere, eddies have high and low pressure at their centers. The Irminger Rings are noted by high pressure, or high sea surface height, indicated here by red colors.
This figure shows the probable locations of several Irminger Rings in color shading. The data are from a satellite that measures sea surface height. Just like high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere, eddies have high and low pressure at their centers. The Irminger Rings are noted by high pressure, or high sea surface height, indicated here by red colors. These measurements of eddy locations are only approximate. We had to verify the locations of eddies using temperature profilers called Expendable Bathythermographs, or XBTs. As we approached the mooring site from the southwest, we released several XBTs to find out if the weak high pressure at that site was an eddy. Turned out it wasn't. After putting the mooring in, we steamed down to the southwest where there were two more high pressure systems. We started releasing XBTs along a path cutting through both possible eddies. You can see that the *'s, which mark the locations of the XBT profiles, are not right on the planned cruise track (the thin black line). This is because the wind was blowing so hard, and the waves were so big, that the ship could not follow the planned track exactly. The temperature profiles in the first of the two eddies were inconclusive. So we went on to the second one. Here the temperature probes showed an eddy was present at the same location as the high pressure. So we released one of our floats at the place where we think the eddy center was located. Within hours, the float had started its programmed mission, profiling up and down in the eddy. We hope the float will stay with this eddy and tell us where the eddy goes and how its core properties change with time. (Map by Amy Bower, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

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