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Baroclinic Eddy Fluxes in a One-Dimensional Model of Quasi-geostrophic Turbulence

R. Lee PanettaJoint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

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Isaac M. HeldGeophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory/NOAA, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

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Abstract

Statistically steady states of a two-layer quasi-geostrophic model truncated to retain only the zonal mean flow and one nonzero zonal wavenumber, but with high meridional resolution, are described. The model is forced by imposing a time-mean unstable meridional temperature gradient, assuming that deviations from the time-mean are doubly periodic. A comparison is made with a more conventional channel model with the same zonal truncation, in which the flow is forced by radiative relaxation to an unstable temperature gradient. It is shown that the statistics of the channel model approach those of the doubly periodic model as the width of the unstable region in the former is increased. Implications for parameterization theories are discussed.

Abstract

Statistically steady states of a two-layer quasi-geostrophic model truncated to retain only the zonal mean flow and one nonzero zonal wavenumber, but with high meridional resolution, are described. The model is forced by imposing a time-mean unstable meridional temperature gradient, assuming that deviations from the time-mean are doubly periodic. A comparison is made with a more conventional channel model with the same zonal truncation, in which the flow is forced by radiative relaxation to an unstable temperature gradient. It is shown that the statistics of the channel model approach those of the doubly periodic model as the width of the unstable region in the former is increased. Implications for parameterization theories are discussed.

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