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A Barotropic Envelope Rossby Soliton Model for Block–Eddy Interaction. Part III: Wavenumber Conservation Theorems for Isolated Blocks and Deformed Eddies

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  • 1 Laboratory of Physical Oceanography, College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China
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Abstract

In a series of previous papers, an envelope Rossby soliton theory was formulated to investigate the interaction between a preexisting planetary wave and synoptic-scale eddies leading to a typical blocking flow. In this paper, numerical and analytical studies are presented in order to examine the interactive relationship between an isolated vortex pair block and deformed synoptic-scale eddies during their interaction. The deformed blocked flow and eddies are found to satisfy the wavenumber conservation theorem. It is shown that the feedback by a blocked flow on the preexisting synoptic eddies gives rise to two types of eddies: one is the Z-type eddies with a meridional monopole structure that appears at the middle of the channel and the other is the M-type eddies with a meridional tripole structure that have long wavelength and large amplitude. Both the total wavenumber of the blocked flow and M-type eddies and the total wavenumber of the Z- and M-type eddies are conserved. The M- and Z-type eddies are compressed and elongated, respectively, as the blocked flow is elongated zonally during its onset phase, but the reverse is observed during the decay phase. The zonally elongated Z-type eddies are found to counteract the compressed M-type eddies in the blocking region, but strengthen the M-type eddies upstream, causing the split of eddies around the blocking region.

In addition, it is also verified theoretically that the blocked flow and synoptic-eddy activity are symbiotically dependent upon one another. The deformed (Z and M type) eddies also display a low-frequency oscillation in amplitude, wavenumber, group velocity, and phase speed, consistent with the blocked flow by the eddy forcing. Thus, it appears that the low-frequency eddy forcing is responsible for the low-frequency variability of the blocked flow and synoptic-eddy activity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Dehai Luo, Laboratory of Physical Oceanography, College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China. Email: ldh@ouc.edu.cn

Abstract

In a series of previous papers, an envelope Rossby soliton theory was formulated to investigate the interaction between a preexisting planetary wave and synoptic-scale eddies leading to a typical blocking flow. In this paper, numerical and analytical studies are presented in order to examine the interactive relationship between an isolated vortex pair block and deformed synoptic-scale eddies during their interaction. The deformed blocked flow and eddies are found to satisfy the wavenumber conservation theorem. It is shown that the feedback by a blocked flow on the preexisting synoptic eddies gives rise to two types of eddies: one is the Z-type eddies with a meridional monopole structure that appears at the middle of the channel and the other is the M-type eddies with a meridional tripole structure that have long wavelength and large amplitude. Both the total wavenumber of the blocked flow and M-type eddies and the total wavenumber of the Z- and M-type eddies are conserved. The M- and Z-type eddies are compressed and elongated, respectively, as the blocked flow is elongated zonally during its onset phase, but the reverse is observed during the decay phase. The zonally elongated Z-type eddies are found to counteract the compressed M-type eddies in the blocking region, but strengthen the M-type eddies upstream, causing the split of eddies around the blocking region.

In addition, it is also verified theoretically that the blocked flow and synoptic-eddy activity are symbiotically dependent upon one another. The deformed (Z and M type) eddies also display a low-frequency oscillation in amplitude, wavenumber, group velocity, and phase speed, consistent with the blocked flow by the eddy forcing. Thus, it appears that the low-frequency eddy forcing is responsible for the low-frequency variability of the blocked flow and synoptic-eddy activity.

Corresponding author address: Dr. Dehai Luo, Laboratory of Physical Oceanography, College of Physical and Environmental Oceanography, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China. Email: ldh@ouc.edu.cn

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