Global Observations of Deep Ocean Kinetic Energy Transfers

F. Sévellec Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Univ Brest CNRS IRD Ifremer, Brest, France
ODYSSEY Project-Team, INRIA CNRS, Brest, France

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A. Colin de Verdière Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Univ Brest CNRS IRD Ifremer, Brest, France

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N. Kolodziejczyk Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Univ Brest CNRS IRD Ifremer, Brest, France

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Abstract

Observations of deep Argo displacements (located between 950 and 1150 dbar) and their associated integrated Lagrangian velocities allow for the first time to compute worldwide deep horizontal transfers of Kinetic Energy (KE) between the 3°×3°-Mean and the Eddy reservoirs (MKE and EKE, respectively). This diagnostic reveals that the transfers are mainly localized along western boundaries and in the Southern Ocean. Overall the MKE-to-EKE transfers appear dominant globally and in all specifically tested regions (i.e., Gulf Stream, Kuroshio, Agulhas Current, and Antarctic Circumpolar Current). However an important exception is the Zapiola gyre where the EKE-to-MKE transfers dominate. Beyond that, we find that horizontal KE transfers are better described by the horizontal properties of the mean flow deformation (divergence and strain) than by the horizontal properties of the turbulent velocities. Our theoretical analysis also demonstrates that the mean flow vorticity does not contribute to KE transfers. We show the existence of two consistent transfer modes: one from MKE to EKE and one from EKE to MKE, which are based on the eigendirections of the mean flow deformation tensor. The alignment of the turbulence along these directions selects the transfer modes and it is the competition between these two transfer modes that leads to the actual transfers. We compute these transfer modes globally, regionally, and locally. We explain the distinctive situation of the Zapiola gyre by the favoured alignment of the turbulence with the EKE-to-MKE transfer mode. Overall, the dominance of the large-scale flow properties on the structure of the MKE-to-EKE transfers suggests the potential for a large-scale parameterization.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author address: Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest Iroise, Plouzané, France. Phone: +33-290-91-5540 email: florian.sevellec@univ-brest.fr

Abstract

Observations of deep Argo displacements (located between 950 and 1150 dbar) and their associated integrated Lagrangian velocities allow for the first time to compute worldwide deep horizontal transfers of Kinetic Energy (KE) between the 3°×3°-Mean and the Eddy reservoirs (MKE and EKE, respectively). This diagnostic reveals that the transfers are mainly localized along western boundaries and in the Southern Ocean. Overall the MKE-to-EKE transfers appear dominant globally and in all specifically tested regions (i.e., Gulf Stream, Kuroshio, Agulhas Current, and Antarctic Circumpolar Current). However an important exception is the Zapiola gyre where the EKE-to-MKE transfers dominate. Beyond that, we find that horizontal KE transfers are better described by the horizontal properties of the mean flow deformation (divergence and strain) than by the horizontal properties of the turbulent velocities. Our theoretical analysis also demonstrates that the mean flow vorticity does not contribute to KE transfers. We show the existence of two consistent transfer modes: one from MKE to EKE and one from EKE to MKE, which are based on the eigendirections of the mean flow deformation tensor. The alignment of the turbulence along these directions selects the transfer modes and it is the competition between these two transfer modes that leads to the actual transfers. We compute these transfer modes globally, regionally, and locally. We explain the distinctive situation of the Zapiola gyre by the favoured alignment of the turbulence with the EKE-to-MKE transfer mode. Overall, the dominance of the large-scale flow properties on the structure of the MKE-to-EKE transfers suggests the potential for a large-scale parameterization.

© 2024 American Meteorological Society. This is an Author Accepted Manuscript distributed under the terms of the default AMS reuse license. For information regarding reuse and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author address: Laboratoire d’Océanographie Physique et Spatiale, Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer, Technopôle Brest Iroise, Plouzané, France. Phone: +33-290-91-5540 email: florian.sevellec@univ-brest.fr
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