Topographic Jetogenesis and Transitions in Straits and along Continents

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  • 1 Department of Oceanography, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
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Abstract

When a low Rossby number barotropic flow accelerates in the laterally converging half of a strait, the local propagation speed of long topographic waves can be reduced to zero, thereby blocking or preventing the formation of a steady flow downstream from the strait. An inviscid longwave theory is presented for the new steady upstream and downstream states that evolve from the blocking wave. The enhanced inshore cyclonic vorticity extending far downstream suggests that topographic jetogenesis, rather than lateral eddy diffusion, in major ocean straits (e.g., Yucatan and Florida) may be important in generating or reforming boundary currents.

Abstract

When a low Rossby number barotropic flow accelerates in the laterally converging half of a strait, the local propagation speed of long topographic waves can be reduced to zero, thereby blocking or preventing the formation of a steady flow downstream from the strait. An inviscid longwave theory is presented for the new steady upstream and downstream states that evolve from the blocking wave. The enhanced inshore cyclonic vorticity extending far downstream suggests that topographic jetogenesis, rather than lateral eddy diffusion, in major ocean straits (e.g., Yucatan and Florida) may be important in generating or reforming boundary currents.

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