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Steven R. Jayne
,
Nelson G. Hogg
, and
Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli

Abstract

A numerical model, with quasigeostrophic and barotropic dynamics, is used to study the forcing of mean flows by an unstable jet. The initially zonal jet has specified shape and transport at the western inflow boundary and is sufficiently intense and narrow that the potential vorticity gradient changes sign, giving rise to barotropic instabilities. The resulting eddies act to smooth the potential vorticity anomalies transported into the domain and produce homogenized regions in which recirculations develop to the north and south of the jet. The intensity of these recirculations, as a function of nondimensional beta, is investigated and a simple, kinematic interpretation offered.

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Markus Jochum
,
Raghu Murtugudde
,
Raffaele Ferrari
, and
Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli

Abstract

An ocean general circulation model (OGCM) of the tropical Atlantic is coupled to an advective atmospheric boundary layer model. This configuration is used to investigate the hypothesis that resolving tropical instability waves (TIWs) in OGCMs will remove the equatorial cold bias that is a feature common to coarse-resolution OGCMs. It is shown that current eddy parameterizations cannot capture the TIW heat flux because diffusion in coarse-resolution OGCMs removes heat from the warm pool to heat the equatorial cold tongue, whereas TIWs draw their heat mostly from the atmosphere. Thus, they can bring more heat to the equatorial cold tongue without cooling the warm pool, and the SST in the warm pool is higher and more realistic. Contrary to expectations, the SST in the equatorial cold tongue is not significantly improved. The equatorial warming due to TIWs is slightly greater than the warming due to diffusion, but this increased equatorial heat flux in the high-resolution experiment is compensated by increased equatorial entrainment there. This is attributed to the Equatorial Undercurrent being stronger, thereby increasing the entrainment rate through shear instability. Thus, higher resolution does not significantly increase the total oceanic heat flux convergence in the equatorial mixed layer.

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Jinbo Wang
,
Michael A. Spall
,
Glenn R. Flierl
, and
Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli

Abstract

Linear and nonlinear radiating instabilities of an eastern boundary current are studied using a barotropic quasigeostrophic model in an idealized meridional channel. The eastern boundary current is meridionally uniform and produces unstable modes in which long waves are most able to radiate. These long radiating modes are easily suppressed by friction because of their small growth rates. However, the long radiating modes can overcome friction by nonlinear energy input transferred from the more unstable trapped mode and play an important role in the energy budget of the boundary current system. The nonlinearly powered long radiating modes take away part of the perturbation energy from the instability origin to the ocean interior. The radiated instabilities can generate zonal striations in the ocean interior that are comparable to features observed in the ocean. Subharmonic instability is identified to be responsible for the nonlinear resonance between the radiating and trapped modes, but more general nonlinear triad interactions are expected to apply in a highly nonlinear environment.

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