Lake Superior Submesoscale Eddies

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Brandon Michael Boswell, Northland College, Ashland, WI; and L. P. Van Roekel

Recent satellite and modeling analysis suggests that the near shore of Lake Superior is filled with submesoscale (1-10 km) eddies.  Here the spatial and temporal variability of submesoscale eddies near the Apostle Islands region of Lake Superior is examined.  The eddies are identified through the use of synthetic aperature radar (SAR) from the European remote sensing (ERS) satellite.  Once eddies are identified the degree of baroclinicity and local convergence is estimated via AVHRR SST data.  Finally, chlorophyll-a data is examined to estimate the influence of these small eddies on the biological productivity of the region.    The time period of analysis is limited to 1991-2008 due to the mission length of the ERS satellites.  The limited results show that submesoscale eddies can have a dramatic (although temporary) influence on biological productivity of Lake Superior.