Available potential energy in the world's oceans
It is shown that in the case with bottom topography, the available gravitational potential energy cannot be represented by the available pressure potential energy. Thus, a suitable quantity for the study of large-scale circulation is the total available potential energy which is defined as the sum of available gravitational potential energy and available internal energy. A simple computational algorithm for calculating the available potential energy in the world's oceans is proposed and tested. This program includes the compressibility of seawater and realistic topography. It is estimated that the world's oceans available gravitational potential energy density is about 1474 J/m3 and the available internal energy density is -850 J/m3; thus, the net available potential energy density is 624 J/m3, and the total amount of available potential energy is 805 × 1018 J.
Author Posting. © Sears Foundation for Marine Research, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of Sears Foundation for Marine Research for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Marine Research 63 (2005): 141-158, doi:10.1357/0022240053693770.