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John A. T. Bye

Abstract

Solutions of the Stommel equation are presented which take the form of free waves in the interior of the ocean basin, driven by convergences and divergences in coastal transports brought about by the variation of the longshore wind stress around the coast. These waves have been termed “coastal waves” and result from the beta-effect in the presence of a uniform frictional process, such as the loss of momentum by the ocean to the atmosphere. The coastal waves which typically transport 5 Sv extend significantly into the interior of the ocean from all boundaries except the western boundary, and also drive a westward nonlinear current, appear to be an important feature in the general circulation. A good example of a quasi-steady wavefield induced by intermediate-scale coastline geography occurs in the Flinders Current off the south coast of Australia.

The western boundary current, of course, compensates for imbalances in interior transport. Its structure results from forcing, both by this transport and the longshore wind stress on the western coast itself, which produces no net transport outside of the boundary layer.

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John A. T. Bye and Jörg-Olaf Wolff

Abstract

A series of two-layer quasigeostrophic solutions for the ocean circulation driven by a steady wind in a channel with topography and in a flat bottom rectangular basin are presented in which the atmosphere and ocean are inertially coupled through the surface stress relation. The only other frictional processes are biharmonic lateral friction (under free-slip boundary conditions) and topographic form stress; there is no bottom friction involved. The results indicate that realistic momentum balances can be obtained on this physical basis. Two types of solutions are obtained, which are called (i) the I series in which the inertial coupling relation is applied directly in the earth reference frame with no current averaging and almost steady stream fields occur and (ii) the S series in which the inertial coupling relation is applied for long current averaging periods, of the order 100 days, rather than instantaneously. The solutions for the longer current averaging periods produce vigorous eddy fields, but their time-mean is very similar to the corresponding solution with no current averaging. Surface Stokes drift streamfields are also generated by the inertial coupling mechanism. Some implications of the results for general circulation modeling are discussed.

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