The response of the Red Sea to a strong wind jet near the Tokar Gap in summer

Ping Zhai, Amy Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


[1] Remote sensing and in situ observations are used to investigate the ocean response to the Tokar Wind Jet in the Red Sea. The wind jet blows down the atmospheric pressure gradient through the Tokar Gap on the Sudanese coast, at about 19°N, during the summer monsoon season. It disturbs the prevailing along-sea (southeastward) winds with strong cross-sea (northeastward) winds that can last from days to weeks and reach amplitudes of 20-25 m/s. By comparing scatterometer winds with along-track and gridded sea level anomaly observations, it is observed that an intense dipolar eddy spins up in response to the wind jet. The eddy pair has a horizontal scale of 140 km. Maximum ocean surface velocities can reach 1 m/s and eddy currents extend more than 100 m into the water column. The eddy currents appear to cover the width of the sea, providing a pathway for rapid transport of marine organisms and other drifting material from one coast to the other. Interannual variability in the strength of the dipole is closely matched with variability in the strength of the wind jet. The dipole is observed to be quasi-stationary, although there is some evidence for slow eastward propagation in an idealized numerical model. Simulation of the dipole in an idealized high-resolution numerical model suggests that this is the result of self-advection. © 2012. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-434
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 31 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): USA 00002, KSA 00011, KSA 00011/02
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Sarantis Sofianos for providing us the observational CTD and SADCP data used in this study, J. Thomas Farrar for providing us the buoy data, and Jiayan Yang for providing us with the 1.5-layer model code. This work was supported by award USA 00002, KSA 00011 and KSA 00011/02 made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.


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