Atmospheric interactions with Gulf Stream Rings
Dewar, William K.
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Four different problems concerning Gulf Stream Rings are considered. The first deals with the particle trajectories of, and advection-diffusion by, a dynamic model of a Ring. It is found that the streaklines computed from the assumptions that the Ring is a steadily propagating and permanent form structure accurately describe its Lagrangian trajectories. The dispersion field of the Ring produces east-west asymmetries in the streaklines, not contained in earlier kinematic studies, which are consistent with observed surface patterns. In the second problem, we compute the core mixed layer evolution of both warm and cold Rings, and compare them to the background SST, in an effort to explain observed SST cycles of Rings. We demonstrate that warm Rings retain their anomalous surface identity, while cold Rings do not, because of differences in both the local atmospheric states of the Sargasso and the Slope and the typical mixed layer structures appropriate to each. The third and fourth problems concern the forced evolution of Gulf Stream Rings as effected by atmospheric interactions. First, we compute the forced spin down of a Gulf Stream Ring. The variations in surface stress across the Ring necessary to spin it down are caused by the variations in relative air-sea velocity, of which the stress is a quadratric function. From numerical simulations, we find the forced decay rates are comparable to those inferred from Ring observations. In the final problem, it is suggested that a substantial fraction of meridional Ring migration is a forced response, caused by Ring SST and the temperature dependence of stress. The warm central waters of anticyclonic Rings are regions of enhanced stress, producing upwelling to the north, and downwelling to the south, which shifts the Ring to the south. A similar, southward shift is computed for cyclonic Rings with cold centers, which tends to reconcile their numerically computed propagation with observations.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution October 1982
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