Two responses of a uniformly stratified flow over a sloping bottom to a spatially varying downwelling favorable wind
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The work was motivated by studies of Austin and Lentz (2002) and Pedlosky (2007). The above mentioned works considered two different responses of the stratified flow to a downwelling favorable wind forcing. The first study investigated a time dependent flow with a formation of a constantly expanding relatively well mixed region near the shore and the second considered a steady flow that arises when an offshore varying wind is applied. In my thesis I use ROMS to determine which type of response will take place based on the wind amplitude near the coast. It was demonstrated that if the value of the wind is much smaller than the critical value (determined by the stratification, the rotation rate and the horizontal diffusivity) then the flow is steady (the bbl case) and similar to the one investigated by Pedlosky. If the wind is of the order, or larger than, the critical value then the response is time dependent (the pool case) and similar to the one described by Austin and Lentz. The resulting flow structure of each response was also investigated. I examined the sensitivity of the bbl response to variations in the background vertical diffusivity, the initial stratification and the bottom slope. It was shown that a higher background vertical diffusivity, a higher stratification and a shallower bottom slope correspond to thinner (vertically) and narrower (horizontally) bbl. For the pool case the time dependent structure was also examined, using a number of idealized models. It was shown that the rate of the pool region expansion is a complex function of the local wind stress amplitude and the local depth.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution September 2008
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