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  • Javier Arístegui

e-IMPACT 2: Searching for Bentayga

More than two months after the end of the e-IMPACT 1 cruise we are back at sea, aboard the R/V Sarmiento de Gamboa, to discover the mysteries of Bentayga, an anticyclonic eddy formed in the south of Gran Canaria, which began to originate four months ago, and whose center is now 200 miles southwest of the island.

During its life history, it has multiplied its extension more than 5 times, embedding water from its surroundings, including waters from the coastal upwelling and other eddies, reaching a size larger than the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria combined.

This eddy, in an advanced state of maturity, will probably drift westward in the coming months, following the "Canary Eddy Corridor" on its way to the open ocean. From our previous experience, we expect it to present different physical processes than when it originated, with great relevance for the formation, sinking and sequestration of organic carbon.

In order to know the structure and dynamics of Bentayga, we have designed a high-resolution study, combining sections with an underwater undulator (SeaSoar), hydrographic stations, Lagrangian buoys, high-resolution satellite images, and an underwater vehicle (glider) with the support of the PLOCAN (Ocean Platform of the Canary Islands).

Researchers from the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the Spanish Research Council, the University of Marseille, and the University of California have embarked on this new adventure, although other national and international institutions collaborate in the project.

Throughout the cruise we will share with you some of our scientific discoveries and personal experiences of our life on board on this blog.

When you leave for the trip to Ithaca,

Pray that the way is long,

Full of adventures, full of knowledge … (Ítaca, Lluís Llach)

SeaSoar survey superimposed to anticyclonic eddy (AE) Bentayga

SeaSoar deployment

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