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Les courants géostrophiques font la boucle

Balades en LAS : 20 avril 2005

Le "loop current" est un des courants les plus particuliers : il entre dans le Golfe du Mexique par le détroit du Yucatan (entre cette péninsule et Cuba, cf Image du Mois, avril 2003 : Un courant qui "fait des ronds dans l'eau). De ce courant principal se détachent des tourbillons chauds, autour desquels tournent des courants assez violents, qui ont notamment un impact très fort sur l'exploitation pétrolière dans la région.

 

Cartes de topographie dynamique absolue ( MADT ) le 16 octobre 2004 sur le Golfe du Mexique et vitesses géostrophiques associées sur une zone plus petite (de 10°x10°). Cette dernière carte est beaucoup plus lisible sur ce "zoom" que si on la trace sur tout le Golfe. Par ailleurs, les " MADT " permettent de visualiser plus clairement ce phénomène de tourbillon qui se détache que les anomalies de hauteur de mer ( MSLA , carte ci-dessous), qui ne permettent de voir "que" les tourbillons individuels, et non le courant principal.

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