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An Analytic Model of the Agulhas Current as a Western Boundary Current with Linearly Varying Viscosity

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  • 1 Southampton Oceanography Centre, Southampton, United Kingdom
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Abstract

A recent current profile across the Agulhas Current shows a region of strong current shear near the continental slope and a relatively gentle exponential decay of the current offshore. If the standard Munk solution is used to fit the current profile, it can account for only 76% of the variance in the data. In an attempt to provide a better fit, the problem of a western boundary current with a linearly increasing viscosity coefficient is solved analytically. It is found that the new solution can explain 97.3% of the variance in the data. The addition of a constant viscosity inshore layer produces a further significant improvement, the final solution explaining 98.2% of the total variance.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David J. Webb, James Rennell Division, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom.

Email: David.Webb@soc.soton.ac.uk

Abstract

A recent current profile across the Agulhas Current shows a region of strong current shear near the continental slope and a relatively gentle exponential decay of the current offshore. If the standard Munk solution is used to fit the current profile, it can account for only 76% of the variance in the data. In an attempt to provide a better fit, the problem of a western boundary current with a linearly increasing viscosity coefficient is solved analytically. It is found that the new solution can explain 97.3% of the variance in the data. The addition of a constant viscosity inshore layer produces a further significant improvement, the final solution explaining 98.2% of the total variance.

Corresponding author address: Dr. David J. Webb, James Rennell Division, Southampton Oceanography Centre, Empress Dock, Southampton SO14 3ZH, United Kingdom.

Email: David.Webb@soc.soton.ac.uk

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