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Title: A thickness-weighted average perspective of force balance in an idealized circumpolar current

The exact, three-dimensional thickness-weighted averaged (TWA) Boussinesq equations are used to diagnose eddy-mean flow interaction in an idealized circumpolar current (ICC). The force exerted by mesoscale eddies on the TWA velocity is expressed as the divergence of the Eliassen-Palm flux tensor. Consistent with previous findings, the analysis indicates that the dynamically relevant definition of the ocean surface layer is comprised of the set of buoyancy coordinates that ever reside at the ocean surface at a given horizontal position. The surface layer is found to be a physically distinct object with a diabatic- and force-balance that is largely isolated from the underlying adiabatic region in the interior. Within the ICC surface layer, the TWA meridional velocity is southward/northward in the top/bottom half, and has a value near zero at the bottom. In the top half of the surface layer, the zonal forces due to wind stress and meridional advection of potential vorticity act to accelerate the TWA zonal velocity; equilibrium is obtained by eddies decelerating the zonal flow via a downward flux of eastward momentum that increases with depth. In the bottom half of the surface layer, the accelerating force of the wind stress is balanced by the eddy force andmore » meridional advection of potential vorticity. The bottom of the surface layer coincides with the location where the zonal eddy force, meridional advection of potential vorticity and zonal wind stress force are all zero. The net meridional transport, S f, within the surface layer is a small residual of its southward and northward TWA meridional flows. Furthermore, the mean meridional gradient of surface-layer buoyancy is advected by S f to balance the surface buoyancy fluxs.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1]
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-16-22514
Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3670
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Journal of Physical Oceanography
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Journal of Physical Oceanography; Journal ID: ISSN 0022-3670
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Earth Sciences
OSTI Identifier:
1341332
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1335630