Conceptual representation of transport of sinking particles. In Spring 2012 (a) particles collected at traps originated from confined, common areas to the north of the traps far from large mesoscale features. In Fall 2012 (b) a large Loop Current eddy dominated the circulation, and particles collected at GC600 originated from the eddy periphery and from inshore, river-influenced high-productive waters. For more details, see Figure 7 in the publication (used with permission from Guangpeng Liu).

Study Simulates How Large and Small Circulations Influence Sinking Marine Particles

Scientists used 3D regional ocean model simulations and sediment trap data to investigate how large (mesoscale) and small (submesoscale) circulations affect the transport of sinking particles, or marine snow, in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Small-scale convergence and divergence processes (a few kilometers) and cross-shore transport of riverine inputs induced by mesoscale eddies significantly influenced the speed and trajectory of sinking particles in offshore waters.

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