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Title: Prognostic residual mean flow in an ocean general circulation model and its relation to prognostic Eulerian mean flow

Recent work has shown that taking the thickness-weighted average (TWA) of the Boussinesq equations in buoyancy coordinates results in exact equations governing the prognostic residual mean flow where eddy–mean flow interactions appear in the horizontal momentum equations as the divergence of the Eliassen–Palm flux tensor (EPFT). It has been proposed that, given the mathematical tractability of the TWA equations, the physical interpretation of the EPFT, and its relation to potential vorticity fluxes, the TWA is an appropriate framework for modeling ocean circulation with parameterized eddies. The authors test the feasibility of this proposition and investigate the connections between the TWA framework and the conventional framework used in models, where Eulerian mean flow prognostic variables are solved for. Using the TWA framework as a starting point, this study explores the well-known connections between vertical transfer of horizontal momentum by eddy form drag and eddy overturning by the bolus velocity, used by Greatbatch and Lamb and Gent and McWilliams to parameterize eddies. After implementing the TWA framework in an ocean general circulation model, we verify our analysis by comparing the flows in an idealized Southern Ocean configuration simulated using the TWA and conventional frameworks with the same mesoscale eddy parameterization.
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  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3670
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Oceanography
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 45; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3670
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 58 GEOSCIENCES; circulation/dynamics; Eddies; mesoscale processes; ocean dynamics; models and modeling; general circulation models; Isopycnal coordinates; subgrid-scale processes
OSTI Identifier: