On the Dynamics of the Throughflow from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean

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  • 1 Oceanographic Center, Nova University, Dania, FL 33004
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Abstract

The circulation forced by an inflow of water through an eastern ocean boundary is investigated using two linear, viscid, and continuously stratified models. One of the models has a flat bottom, and solutions are obtained analytically; the other has a continental shelf, and solutions are found numerically. Without vertical mixing all the inflow continues across the ocean. With vertical mixing, however, part of it bends poleward to generate a coastal circulation. The presence of a shelf displaces the coastal currents offshore, but otherwise changes their structure and magnitude very little. Solutions suggest that the southward bending of the throughflow from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean may contribute to the Leeuwin Current off western Australia, but that it is not the dominant mechanism for driving the circulation there.

Abstract

The circulation forced by an inflow of water through an eastern ocean boundary is investigated using two linear, viscid, and continuously stratified models. One of the models has a flat bottom, and solutions are obtained analytically; the other has a continental shelf, and solutions are found numerically. Without vertical mixing all the inflow continues across the ocean. With vertical mixing, however, part of it bends poleward to generate a coastal circulation. The presence of a shelf displaces the coastal currents offshore, but otherwise changes their structure and magnitude very little. Solutions suggest that the southward bending of the throughflow from the Pacific into the Indian Ocean may contribute to the Leeuwin Current off western Australia, but that it is not the dominant mechanism for driving the circulation there.

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