 
Summary: The relation between the statistics of open ocean currents and the temporal
correlations of the wind
Golan Bel1,
and Yosef Ashkenazy1,
1
Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics,
Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research,
BenGurion University of the Negev, Sede Boqer Campus 84990, Israel
Abstract
We study the statistics of winddriven open ocean currents. Using the Ekman layer model for the inte
grated currents, we investigate, analytically and numerically, the relation between the wind distribution and
its temporal correlations and the statistics of the open ocean currents. We find that temporally longrange
correlated wind results in currents whose statistics is proportional to the windstress statistics. On the other
hand, shortrange correlated wind leads to Gaussian distributions of the current components, regardless of
the stationary distribution of the winds, and therefore, to a Rayleigh distribution of the current amplitude
if the wind stress is isotropic. An interesting result is the existence of an optimum in the amplitude of the
ocean currents as a function of the correlation time of the wind stress. The results were validated using an
oceanic general circulation model.
PACS numbers: 92.60.Cc, 91.10.Vr, 88.05.Np, 92.60.Gn
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