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Intransitive Multiple Equilibria in Eddy-Active Barotropic Flows

Greg HollowayInstitute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C., Canada V8L 4B2

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Jane EertInstitute of Ocean Sciences, Sidney, B.C., Canada V8L 4B2

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Abstract

Possible multiple equilibria of large-scale flows over topography have been subjects of many recent investigations. Early suggestions of Charney and De Vore, Hart and Wiin-Nicisen were based upon idealized flows of very few degrees of freedom. Subsequent studies based upon more elaborate systems failed to show intransitive multiple equilibria. On the contrary, we exhibit well-resolved, fully eddy-active model results which show multiple equilibria to be well-established over a range of parameters. “Blocked” regimes are characterized by transient eddy activity. Under steady external forcing, the flow regimes appear to be intransitive.

Abstract

Possible multiple equilibria of large-scale flows over topography have been subjects of many recent investigations. Early suggestions of Charney and De Vore, Hart and Wiin-Nicisen were based upon idealized flows of very few degrees of freedom. Subsequent studies based upon more elaborate systems failed to show intransitive multiple equilibria. On the contrary, we exhibit well-resolved, fully eddy-active model results which show multiple equilibria to be well-established over a range of parameters. “Blocked” regimes are characterized by transient eddy activity. Under steady external forcing, the flow regimes appear to be intransitive.

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