Evidence for the maintenance of slowly varying equatorial currents by intraseasonal variability
Greatbatch, Richard J.
Tuchen, Franz Philip
Toole, John M.
Farrar, J. Thomas
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KeywordEquatorial deep jets; Seasonal cycle; Momentum flux convergence; Tropical instability waves; Equatorial basin mode resonance
Recent evidence from mooring data in the equatorial Atlantic reveals that semiannual and longer time scale ocean current variability is close to being resonant with equatorial basin modes. Here we show that intraseasonal variability, with time scales of tens of days, provides the energy to maintain these resonant basin modes against dissipation. The mechanism is analogous to that by which storm systems in the atmosphere act to maintain the atmospheric jet stream. We demonstrate the mechanism using an idealized model setup that exhibits equatorial deep jets. The results are supported by direct analysis of available mooring data from the equatorial Atlantic Ocean covering a depth range of several thousand meters. The analysis of the mooring data suggests that the same mechanism also helps maintain the seasonal variability.
© The Author(s), 2018. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 1923–1929, doi:10.1002/2017GL076662.
Suggested CitationGeophysical Research Letters 45 (2018): 1923–1929
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