The Impact of Ocean Surface Currents on Sverdrup Transport in the Midlatitude North Pacific via the Wind Stress Formulation

Zhitao Yu Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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E. Joseph Metzger Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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Yalin Fan Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, Mississippi

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Abstract

A more complete wind stress τn formulation takes into account the ocean surface currents Vo, while the conventional wind stress τc popularly used in ocean circulation models is only a function of 10-m winds V10. An analytical solution is derived for the difference of Sverdrup transport induced by using τn instead of τc. A scaling analysis of the analytical solution indicates a 6% reduction of the Sverdrup transport in the North Pacific (i.e., the Kuroshio transport in the East China Sea) when Ekman velocity dominates the ocean surface currents. Because of the quadratic nature of wind stress, four nonlinear terms contribute equally to this difference: two vorticity torque terms and two speed gradient torque terms. A pair of 12.5-yr (July 2002–14) Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model simulations that only differ in the wind stress formulation are used to test the analytical solution. The model results (2004–14) confirm that using τn instead of τc reduces the Sverdrup transport in the North Pacific by 8%–17% between 23° and 32°N. The reduction rate of the simulated 11-yr mean Kuroshio transport through the East Taiwan Channel and Tokara Strait is 8.0% (−2.5 Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) and 12.8% (−4.8 Sv), respectively, in good agreement with the Sverdrup transport reduction rate, which is 7.4% (−2.6 Sv) and 15.4% (−6.3 Sv) at the corresponding latitude. The local effect of changing wind stress/wind work and Ekman transport due to the inclusion of Vo in the wind stress formulation is negligible compared to the Kuroshio volume transport change estimated in this study.

Naval Research Laboratory Contribution Number NRL/JA/7320-16-2895.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Zhitao Yu, zhitao.yu@nrlssc.navy.mil

Abstract

A more complete wind stress τn formulation takes into account the ocean surface currents Vo, while the conventional wind stress τc popularly used in ocean circulation models is only a function of 10-m winds V10. An analytical solution is derived for the difference of Sverdrup transport induced by using τn instead of τc. A scaling analysis of the analytical solution indicates a 6% reduction of the Sverdrup transport in the North Pacific (i.e., the Kuroshio transport in the East China Sea) when Ekman velocity dominates the ocean surface currents. Because of the quadratic nature of wind stress, four nonlinear terms contribute equally to this difference: two vorticity torque terms and two speed gradient torque terms. A pair of 12.5-yr (July 2002–14) Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model simulations that only differ in the wind stress formulation are used to test the analytical solution. The model results (2004–14) confirm that using τn instead of τc reduces the Sverdrup transport in the North Pacific by 8%–17% between 23° and 32°N. The reduction rate of the simulated 11-yr mean Kuroshio transport through the East Taiwan Channel and Tokara Strait is 8.0% (−2.5 Sv; 1 Sv ≡ 106 m3 s−1) and 12.8% (−4.8 Sv), respectively, in good agreement with the Sverdrup transport reduction rate, which is 7.4% (−2.6 Sv) and 15.4% (−6.3 Sv) at the corresponding latitude. The local effect of changing wind stress/wind work and Ekman transport due to the inclusion of Vo in the wind stress formulation is negligible compared to the Kuroshio volume transport change estimated in this study.

Naval Research Laboratory Contribution Number NRL/JA/7320-16-2895.

For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author e-mail: Zhitao Yu, zhitao.yu@nrlssc.navy.mil
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