Scientists Observe Bizarre ‘Double Whirlpools’ in The Ocean For The First Time

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According to ScienceAlert

For the first time, scientists have recorded a bizarre phenomenon in fluid dynamics, which up until now had only ever been theoretically predicted, but never observed in the wild.

In the ocean, vast whirlpools called eddies span up to hundreds of kilometres across and are a relatively common event. But now researchers have observed these giant vortices swirling in tandem: two connected whirlpools spiralling in opposite directions.

“Ocean eddies almost always head to the west, but by pairing up they can move to the east and travel ten times as fast as a normal eddy, so they carry water in unusual directions across the ocean,” explains oceanographer Chris Hughes from the University of Liverpool in the UK.

“What we found was a pair of eddies spinning in opposite directions and linked to each other so that they travel together all the way across the Tasman Sea, taking six months to do it.”

087 whirlpools modon 2University of Liverpool

These spun-together whirlpool pairs are called modons, and while scientists have predicted for decades that they might form in the ocean, nobody had ever seen one – until Hughes took a close look at satellite footage of oceans around Australia.

“I happened to notice one little feature down in the Tasman Sea [between Australia and New Zealand] that was behaving very strangely compared to everywhere else,” Hughes told Popular Science.

“Almost all these eddies drift slowly westwards, but this little feature was going quickly eastwards.”

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This article and images were originally posted on [ScienceAlert] December 27, 2017 at 02:15AM. Credit to Author and ScienceAlert | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day







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