All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 0 0 0
Full Text Views 0 0 0
PDF Downloads 0 0 0

On the Influence of Wind-Stress Curl on Low-Frequency Shelf Water Flow

View More View Less
  • 1 Departamento de Oceanografía Física, C.I.C.E.S.E., Ensenada, B.C., Mexico
  • | 2 Department of Oceanography and Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Institute, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Restricted access

Abstract

An approximate solution for wind-driven, near-barotropic flow over the continental shelf is obtained. The solution shows that a wind stress with amplitude that increases offshore and then is relatively constant, as observed during the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiments (CODE), results in two types of shear. The horizontal shear is associated with the offshore increase of the wind stress, which strengthens the flow. The vertical shear is associated with the alongshore wind-stress amplitude and its first two offshore derivatives. For a wind-stress structure similar to the one observed during CODE, the dominant vertical shear is associated with ∂2τy/∂x2, where τy is the alongshore wind stress and x is the distance seaward from the coast. Physically, ∂2τy/∂x2 nonzero means that the surface Ekman pumping will vary with x, tilt isopycnals, and produce a vertical shear in the alongshore velocity in accordance with the thermal wind relation.

The near-barotropic solution for the alongshore velocity field obtained with an exponential bathymetry and idealized wind forcing is very similar to the numerical solution obtained with the same parameters and is qualitatively similar to the observed structure and to numerical solutions obtained with a more realistic bathymetry. These results confirm previous work about the importance of wind-stress curl in determining the structure of the observed alongshore velocity flow during CODE and provide a simple physical explanation for the observed structure.

Abstract

An approximate solution for wind-driven, near-barotropic flow over the continental shelf is obtained. The solution shows that a wind stress with amplitude that increases offshore and then is relatively constant, as observed during the Coastal Ocean Dynamics Experiments (CODE), results in two types of shear. The horizontal shear is associated with the offshore increase of the wind stress, which strengthens the flow. The vertical shear is associated with the alongshore wind-stress amplitude and its first two offshore derivatives. For a wind-stress structure similar to the one observed during CODE, the dominant vertical shear is associated with ∂2τy/∂x2, where τy is the alongshore wind stress and x is the distance seaward from the coast. Physically, ∂2τy/∂x2 nonzero means that the surface Ekman pumping will vary with x, tilt isopycnals, and produce a vertical shear in the alongshore velocity in accordance with the thermal wind relation.

The near-barotropic solution for the alongshore velocity field obtained with an exponential bathymetry and idealized wind forcing is very similar to the numerical solution obtained with the same parameters and is qualitatively similar to the observed structure and to numerical solutions obtained with a more realistic bathymetry. These results confirm previous work about the importance of wind-stress curl in determining the structure of the observed alongshore velocity flow during CODE and provide a simple physical explanation for the observed structure.

Save