If you look at the ocean from a bird's eye view, you will see circular patterns on the water. These are oceanic whirlpools that transform the water surface into Van Gogh's "Starry Night"
Oceanic eddies are 10 to 100 kilometers in diameter. They can be found everywhere, but in some regions they are especially abundant. These include the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic, the Kuroshio Current in the North Pacific, the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, and, closer to Australia, the East Australian Current, known to many for the cartoon Finding Nemo.
Oceanic eddies are an integral part of the oceanic circulation. They move warm and cold waters, mixing them, carbon, salt and nutrients, and affect the state of the ocean in every way.
By carefully analyzing satellite data from 1993 to 2020, scientists have discovered changes in the distribution and strength of oceanic eddies that were previously unnoticed.
The speed of the eddies increases by about 5% per decade. The largest changes are seen in the Southern Ocean and this affects the rate at which the ocean absorbs heat and carbon.
But eddies are often overlooked in climate projections of global warming: they are relatively small and remain virtually invisible in existing models. But their influence is underestimated, especially since the intensity of the eddies is growing.