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Mesoscale Eddy (Hydroform)

Component: Hydroform

Unique Identifier: 639

Hydroform Class Current
Hydroform Mesoscale Eddy
Hydroform Type Cold Core Ring
Warm Core Ring

Definition A rotational feature that (a) breaks off of an ocean gyre or large current (such as the Gulf Stream) and (b) persist autonomously for some period (from days to months) at sizes of 20 kilometers to 500 kilometers. These eddies play an important role in ocean mixing—and in sheltering and acting as nursery waters for biota. The most energetic eddies are at the smaller end of the spatial scale. The larger eddies (called mesoscale eddies) are slower moving, but they persist for many months and are ubiquitous in the global oceans. Mesoscale Eddies are most prevalent in the North Atlantic and North Pacific, but they can occur in all oceans.