The effects of mesoscale ocean–atmosphere coupling on the large-scale ocean circulation
Hogg, Andrew Mc C.
Dewar, William K.
Berloff, Pavel S.
Kravtsov, Sergey K.
Hutchinson, David K.
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KeywordAirndashsea interaction; Coupled models; Mesoscale processes; Wind stress; Ekman pumping/transport
Small-scale variation in wind stress due to ocean–atmosphere interaction within the atmospheric boundary layer alters the temporal and spatial scale of Ekman pumping driving the double-gyre circulation of the ocean. A high-resolution quasigeostrophic (QG) ocean model, coupled to a dynamic atmospheric mixed layer, is used to demonstrate that, despite the small spatial scale of the Ekman-pumping anomalies, this phenomenon significantly modifies the large-scale ocean circulation. The primary effect is to decrease the strength of the nonlinear component of the gyre circulation by approximately 30%–40%. This result is due to the highest transient Ekman-pumping anomalies destabilizing the flow in a dynamically sensitive region close to the western boundary current separation. The instability of the jet produces a flux of potential vorticity between the two gyres that acts to weaken both gyres.
Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Climate 22 (2009): 4066–4082, doi:10.1175/2009JCLI2629.1.
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