The Turbulent Oscillator: A Mechanism of Low-Frequency Variability of the Wind-Driven Ocean Gyres

P. Berloff Physical Oceanography Department, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom

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A. Mc C. Hogg Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

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W. Dewar Department of Oceanography, The Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida

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Abstract

Intrinsic low-frequency variability is studied in the idealized, quasigeostrophic, midlatitude, wind-driven ocean gyres operating at large Reynolds number. A robust decadal variability mode driven by the transient mesoscale eddies is found and analyzed. The variability is a turbulent phenomenon, which is driven by the competition between the eddy rectification process and the potential vorticity anomalies induced by changes of the intergyre transport.

Corresponding author address: P. Berloff, Clark Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MS 29, Woods Hole, MA 02543. Email: pberloff@whoi.edu

Abstract

Intrinsic low-frequency variability is studied in the idealized, quasigeostrophic, midlatitude, wind-driven ocean gyres operating at large Reynolds number. A robust decadal variability mode driven by the transient mesoscale eddies is found and analyzed. The variability is a turbulent phenomenon, which is driven by the competition between the eddy rectification process and the potential vorticity anomalies induced by changes of the intergyre transport.

Corresponding author address: P. Berloff, Clark Laboratory, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MS 29, Woods Hole, MA 02543. Email: pberloff@whoi.edu

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