Wang Xiaoming

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  • Thesis
    Interaction of an eddy with a continental slope
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1992-09) Wang, Xiaoming
    This study concerns the barotropic interactions between a mesoscale eddy and a straight monotonic bottom topography. Through simple to relatively complicated modeling effort, some of the fundamental properties of the interaction are investigated. In chapter two, the fundamental aspects of the interaction are examined using a simple contour dynamics model. With the simplest model configuration of an ideal vortex and a step topography, the basic dynamical features of the observed oceanic eddy-topography interaction are qualitatively reproduced. The results consist of eddy-induced cross-topography exchange, formation of topographic eddies, eddy propagation and generation of topographic waves. In chapter three, a more complicated primitive equation model is used to investigate a mesoscale eddy interacting with an exponential continental shelf/slope topography on both f and β-planes. The f-plane model recasts the important features of chapter two. The roles of the eddy size and strength and the geometry of topography are studied. It is seen that the multiple anticyclonic eddy-slope interactions strongly affect the total cross-slope volume transport and the evolution of both the original anticyclone and the topographic eddy. Since a cyclone is trapped at the slope and eventually moves on to the slope, it is most effective in causing perturbation on the shelf and slope. The responses on the shelf and slope are mainly wavelike with dispersion relation obeying that of the free shelf-trapped wave modes. On the β-plane, the problem of an eddy colliding onto a continental shelf/slope from a distance with straight or oblique incident angles is investigated. It is found that the straight eddy incident is more effective in achieving large onslope eddy penetration distance than the oblique eddy incident. The formation of a dipole-like eddy pair consisting of the original anticyclone and the topographic cyclone acts to suppress the eddy decay due to long Rossby wave radiation. A weak along-slope current near the edge of the slope is found, which is part of a outer slope circulation cell originated from the Rossby wave wake trailing the propagating eddy. Model-observation comparisons in_chapter four show favorable qualitative agreement of the model results with some of the observed events in the eastern U.S. continental margins and in the Gulf of Mexico. The model results give dynamical interpretations to some observed features of the oceanic eddy-topography interactions and provide enlightening insight into the problem.
  • Thesis
    A numerical model of mixing and convection driven by surface buoyancy flux
    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, 1989-09) Wang, Xiaoming
    This thesis studies mixing and convection in a rectangular basin driven by a specified heat flux at the surface. A numerical model is constructed for this purpose. The main focus of the study is on the density and circulation structure resulting from the thermal forcing. In chapter two, a simple vertical one-dimensional model is developed to examine the mixing processes under a given surface heat flux. In order to simulate strong vertical mixing in the region where stratification is unstable, turbulent processes are modeled by a convective overturning parameterization of eddy viscosity and diffusivity. The results show that the density structure is strongly affected by the convective overturning adjustment as surface cooling prevails, and the resulting density field is nearly depth independent. In chapter three, a more complicated two-dimensional model is constructed to simulate mixing and circulation in a vertical rectangular basin with rigid boundaries. The aspect ratio of the basin ranges from 1 to 0.001 and Rayleigh number from 104 to 2 x 1012. It is found that the circulation pattern is dominated by these two important numbers. The roles of density overturning and density-momentum overturning mixing are further investigated. The results show that the convective overturning not only homogenizes the density field in the unstably stratified region but also contributes to increase the circulation. A crude scale analysis of the system shows that the characteristics of the density and momentum fields from the analysis agree well with the numerical results.