A new mechanism for the generation of quasi-zonal jets in the ocean
Spall, Michael A.
Flierl, Glenn R.
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KeywordRossby waves; Barotropic instability; Eastern boundary currents; Radiating instabilities; Zonal jets; Zonal striations
A simple barotropic quasi-geostrophic model is used to demonstrate that instabilities radiated from an unstable eastern boundary current can generate zonal striations in the ocean interior with realistic wavelengths and amplitudes. Nonlinear transfer of energy from the more unstable trapped modes is important for radiating modes to overcome friction. The dynamics shown here are generic enough to point to the eastern boundary current as a likely source of the observed striations extending from oceanic eastern boundaries.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Geophysical Research Letters 39 (2012): L10601, doi:10.1029/2012GL051861.
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