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On the Probability and Spatial Distribution of Ocean Surface Currents YOSEF ASHKENAZY

Summary: On the Probability and Spatial Distribution of Ocean Surface Currents
Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, BIDR, Ben-Gurion University, Midreshet Ben-Gurion, Israel
The Fredy and Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel
(Manuscript received 3 January 2011, in final form 3 July 2011)
Insights into the probability distribution of ocean currents are important for various applications such as the
chance to encounter extreme events, which may affect, for example, marine construction, and for estimating
the energy that can be extracted from the ocean. In addition, for devising better parameterizations for sub-
mesoscale mixing, which present climate models cannot resolve, one should understand the velocity distri-
bution and its relation to the various forcing of surface ocean circulation. Here, the authors investigate the
probability distribution of surface currents from the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba measured by high-frequency radar.
Their results show that the distribution of ocean current speeds can be approximated by a Weibull distri-
bution. Moreover, the authors demonstrate the existence of spatial variations of the scale and shape pa-
rameters of the Weibull distribution over a relatively small region of only a few kilometers. They use a simple
surface Ekman layer model to investigate this spatial variability. They find that, when forced by local winds,
this model does not reproduce the observations. The addition of Gaussian noise to the zonal and meridional
components of the bottom geostrophic currents has only a slight effect on the surface current distribution.
However, noise added to the components of the local wind (mimicking wind gusts) has a much greater effect


Source: Ashkenazy, Yossi "Yosef" - Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research,Ben-Gurion University of the Negev


Collections: Physics; Environmental Management and Restoration Technologies