Effects of westward mountain-gap wind jets on the Red Sea Eastern Boundary Current and the mesoscale eddy field
Event: 2017 Ocean Surface Topography Science Team Meeting
Session: Science III: Mesoscale and sub-mesoscale oceanography
Presentation type: Type Poster
Winds blowing over the Northern Rea Sea (NRS) are predominantly southward, along the main axis, all year round. This pattern contrasts with the winds in the southern Red Sea, where the along-axis winds reverse seasonally due to the monsoonal regime. Although the winds are mostly along-axis, several works have shown that occasionally the winds blow in a cross-axis direction from Saudi Arabia to Africa during the boreal winter. These westward wind-jet events are intermittent and occasionally hold for several days. They bring relatively cold dry air and dust from the Saudi Arabia desert, increasing heat loss and evaporation off the NRS . Previous works suggest these events contribute to increase eddy activity in the NRS and may impact the northward-flowing Eastern Boundary Current (EBC). In the present work, we investigate how the wind-jet events impact the EBC and the NRS eddy fields, through analysis of altimetric sea surface height anomalies, satellite sea surface temperature (SST), scatterometer winds, and two years of data from a mooring deployed by WHOI. We show that the westward wind jet events increase the NRS eddy activity and destroy the EBC signature in SST images.