sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery

 

Sail-World.com : Eddies found to be deep, powerful modes of ocean transport

Eddies found to be deep, powerful modes of ocean transport

'Black smoke rises vigorously at vents when the hot, chemically-altered seawater mixes with the cold, oxygenated bottom water. The hydrothermal alterations to seawater occurring at these relatively isolated locations affect the global ocean chemical budget and sustain thriving and strange communities, including these giant tubeworms, Riftia pachyptila, and gastropod limpets grazing on their tubes'    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) ©

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues have discovered that massive, swirling ocean eddies - known to be up to 500 kilometers across at the surface--can reach all the way to the ocean bottom at mid-ocean ridges, some 2,500 meters deep, transporting tiny sea creatures, chemicals, and heat from hydrothermal vents over large distances.

The previously unknown deep-sea phenomenon, reported in the April 28 issue of the journal Science, helps explain how some larvae travel huge distances from one vent area to another, said Diane K. Adams, lead author at WHOI and now at the National Institutes of Health.

'We knew these eddies existed,' said Adams, a biologist. 'But nobody realized they can affect processes on the bottom of the ocean. Previous studies had looked at the upper ocean.'

Using deep-sea moorings, current meters and sediment traps over a six-month period, along with computer models, Adams and her colleagues studied the eddies at the underwater mountain range known as the East Pacific Rise. That site experienced a well-documented eruption in 2006 that led to a discovery reported last year that larvae from as far away as 350 km somehow traveled that distance to settle in the aftermath of the eruption.

The newly discovered depth of the powerful eddies helps explain that phenomenon but also opens up a host of other scientific possibilities in oceans around the world. 'This atmospherically generated mechanism is affecting the deep sea and how larvae, chemical and heat are transported over large distances,' Adams said.

The eddies are generated at the surface by atmospheric events, such as wind jets, which can be strengthened during an El Niño, and 'are known to have a strong influence on surface ocean dynamics and production,' say Adams and Dennis J. McGillicuddy from WHOI, along with colleagues from Florida State University, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and the University of Brest in France. But this 'atmospheric forcing…is typically not considered in studies of the deep sea,' they report.

Moreover, the eddies appear to form seasonally, suggesting repeated interactions with undersea ridges such as the Eastern Pacific Rise. The models 'predict a train of eddies across the ocean,' Adams said. 'There may be two to three eddies per year at this location,' Adams said. Each one, she says, 'could connect the site of the eruption to other sites hundreds of miles away.' Elsewhere, she adds, 'there are numerous places around the globe where they could be interacting with the deep sea.'

Shortly after an eruption, vent life replenishes itself through the settlement of larvae sometimes from distant sources. Small tubeworms (tevnia) and limpet gastropods begin to cover the new glassy basalt crust. -  Woods Hole Oceanographic?nid=83147 Institution (WHOI) ©  

In her 2010 report on larvae traveling great distances to settle at the eruption site, WHOI Senior Scientist Lauren S. Mullineaux , along with Adams and others, suggested the larvae traveled along something like an undersea superhighway, ocean-bottom 'jets' travelling up to 10 centimeters a second. But conceding that even those would not be enough to carry the larvae all that distance in such a short time, the researchers speculated that large eddies may be propelling the migrating larvae even faster.

Adams’s current work follows up on that possibility. 'The mechanism we found helps explain what we saw in the first paper,' Adams said.

It is the larger picture, over longer periods of time, however, that Adams and her colleagues find particularly intriguing. 'Transport [of ocean products] could occur wherever…eddies interact with ridges—including the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the Southwest Indian Ridge, and the East Scotia Ridge—and the surrounding deep ocean,' the researchers say.

And because the eddies appear to form repeatedly, the high-speed, long-distance transport can last for months. 'Although the deep sea and hydrothermal vents in particular are often naively thought of as being isolated from the surface ocean and atmosphere, the interaction of the surface-generated eddies with the deep sea offers a conduit for seasonality and longer-period atmospheric phenomena to influence the ‘seasonless’ deep sea,' Adams and her colleagues write.

'Thus, although hydrothermal sources of heat, chemical and larval fluxes do not exhibit seasonality there is potential for long-distance transport and dispersal to have seasonal to interannual variability.'

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, WHOI, and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The lead author, Diane K Adams (foreground), helps the crew of the R/V Atlantis haul in one of the moorings equipped with current meters and a time series sediment trap (shown here) whose contents revealed the unexpected influence of eddies on the transport of hydrothermal vent chemicals and biology. -  Woods Hole Oceanographic?nid=83147 Institution (WHOI) ©  

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution website




by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=83147

12:07 PM Wed 4 May 2011 GMT






Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


News - USA and the World



















The first annual WetaFresh is a big success by Tim Wieringa, Muskegon, MI


















Techno 293 Worlds - France and Italy claim titles by International Windsurfing Association,














420 World Championship - Singapore and Spain out front by 420 International Class Association,
















Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 - Tactics, endurance, achievement
Alpari World Match Racing Tour moves on to Poland + Video
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup final qualification system published
Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac - Karma Sailing Group wins
Red Bull 49erFX: Easing into the Olympic scene at Rio
Kempe thrilled to invite himself to Gold Cup party
2014 420 World Championships - Singapore wins Day 2 race
Lightning strikes cut short CFJ Nationals
Etchells Invitational Cup - Girls on top in Cowes
National Sailing Hall of Fame reveals inductees
J/111 North American Championship - Wind Czar victorious
Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race sets off August 10th
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau victorious on day 5
Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship headed for San Diego
WPA Championships - Kids race divisions offered
New Clever Pig launched by US Sailing
America's Cup: Group agrees to co-operate in London Meeting
Copa del Rey Mapfre - Build-up reveals some remarkable enthusiasm
Marblehead NOOD Regatta - Images by Leighton O'Connor
America's Cup: Two AC72 skippers discuss Foiling Moths and the Cup
RS Feva World Championship - Brilliant sailing on day 2   
America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran *Feature   
Cape Panwa Hotel Phuket Race Week 2014 - Relishing a challenge   
Edgartown Race Weekend - BBBR and Round-the-Island Race winners named   
Etchells Invitational Cup - Aussies take early lead in Cowes   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Antoine Albeau strikes back on day 4   
Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta - All set for test event   
ISAF World Sailing Rankings for 28 July 2014   
29er World Championship - All set in Kingston   
ORC World Championship - Third Course area opens for huge fleet   
Day one of the Allen RS Feva World Championships   
Anna Tunnicliffe: Final two days of the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games   
Joachim Aschenbrenner takes gold at ISAF Youth Match Race Worlds 2014   
Maxi Soh scores double wins in CMRC Summer Doubleheader   
29er World Championship opening ceremonies in Confederation Park   
PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam - Action resumes on day 3   
Vic-Maui Yacht Race - Polishing the silverware   
Land Rover Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race Start 2014 VIDEO   
Laser Radial Men’s World Championship 2014- Final day   
2014 Pacific Cup - Scarlet Runner wins   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT