Southern ocean eddies alter conditions in the overlying atmosphere, reports a paper published online this week in Nature Geoscience. The findings suggest that small-scale air-sea interactions influence large-scale atmospheric dynamics.
Using satellite data, Ivy Frenger and colleagues examined the atmospheric conditions associated with over 600,000 individual eddies in the Southern Ocean. They find that ocean eddies alter near-surface winds, cloud properties and rainfall. In the case of cyclonic eddies, the authors observed a weakening of near-surface winds and a reduction in cloud cover and rainfall.