Representing Topographic Stress for Large-Scale Ocean Models

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  • 1 Institute of Ocean Science, Sidney, British Columbia, Canada
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Abstract

Interaction of eddies with seafloor topography can exert enormous, systematic forces on the ocean circulation. This interaction has been considered previously under idealized circumstances. Theoretical results are here simplified and extended toward practical application in large-scale ocean circulation models. Among the suggestions is that coarse resolution models can “correct” a depth-independent part of the velocity field toward a velocity given by −z × ∇fLH, where z is the vertical unit vector, f is Coriolis form, L is a length scale O(10 km), and H is the total depth. Absence of this tendency may be implicated in a number of systematic defects that appear in present ocean models.

Abstract

Interaction of eddies with seafloor topography can exert enormous, systematic forces on the ocean circulation. This interaction has been considered previously under idealized circumstances. Theoretical results are here simplified and extended toward practical application in large-scale ocean circulation models. Among the suggestions is that coarse resolution models can “correct” a depth-independent part of the velocity field toward a velocity given by −z × ∇fLH, where z is the vertical unit vector, f is Coriolis form, L is a length scale O(10 km), and H is the total depth. Absence of this tendency may be implicated in a number of systematic defects that appear in present ocean models.

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