Smoke rings' in the ocean could 'suck-up' small creatures and send them 'flying'

Researchers 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, according to Science Daily.

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 Sea. 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.

 Described in a research the `smoke rings' were discovered by analysing sea level measurements taken from satellites together with sea surface temperature images from the same time and place.

Lead author of the study and an expert in sea level science, Professor Chris Hughes, said: "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 Sea, taking six months to do it.

"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.

The smoke rings require an area of calm water to 'puff' out through, which itself is quite unusual. I've looked at other areas of other oceans but I've only seen them in the oceans. My thinking is that these linked, fast moving eddies could 'suck-up' small marine creatures and carry them at high speed and for long distances across the ocean."

N.H.Kh