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'Smoke rings' spotted in the ocean from space

11 December 2017

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Researchers from the University of Liverpool have spotted the equivalent of smoke-rings in the ocean which they think could 'suck-up' small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean.

The ocean is full of eddies, swirling motions some tens to hundreds of kilometres across, which mix the water and carry it across the average currents. The 'smoke-rings' are a pair of linked eddies spinning in opposite directions that travel up to ten times the speed of 'normal' eddies and were spotted in the Tasman Sea, off the south-west of Australia and in the South Atlantic, west of South Africa. The rings in the ocean are cut in half by the sea surface, so we see the two ends of the half ring at the surface.

Source: University of Liverpool

Image credit: University of Liverpool - 'Smoke rings' spotted in the ocean from space