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A Linear Equivalent Barotropic Model of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current with Realistic Coastlines and Bottom Topography

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  • 1 Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, New York
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Abstract

A linear equivalent barotropic (EB) model is applied to study the effects of the bottom topography H and baroclinicity on the total transport and the position of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The model is based on the observation of Killworth that the time mean velocity field of the FRAM Model is self-similar in the vertical.

A realistic large-scale topography H̄ is constructed by filtering 5-minute resolution data with an appropriate smoothing kernel. It is shown that the asymptotic behavior of the solution of the barotropic model (a particular case of the EB model) in the limit of very small bottom friction depends on subtle details of topography and basin geometry. Given the uncertainties of the smoothing procedure the authors conclude that the barotropic model is not robust with respect to possible variations of model topography.

The authors found that the EB model with a vertical profile function similar to that of Killworth reproduces the major features of the time- and depth-averaged FRAM solution, including the position and the transport of the ACC, reasonably well. The solution is robust with respect to uncertainties in H̄. The EB model is much improved by a parameterization of the bottom friction via near-bottom velocity, which tends to shut off the flow in the shallow regions.

Abstract

A linear equivalent barotropic (EB) model is applied to study the effects of the bottom topography H and baroclinicity on the total transport and the position of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The model is based on the observation of Killworth that the time mean velocity field of the FRAM Model is self-similar in the vertical.

A realistic large-scale topography H̄ is constructed by filtering 5-minute resolution data with an appropriate smoothing kernel. It is shown that the asymptotic behavior of the solution of the barotropic model (a particular case of the EB model) in the limit of very small bottom friction depends on subtle details of topography and basin geometry. Given the uncertainties of the smoothing procedure the authors conclude that the barotropic model is not robust with respect to possible variations of model topography.

The authors found that the EB model with a vertical profile function similar to that of Killworth reproduces the major features of the time- and depth-averaged FRAM solution, including the position and the transport of the ACC, reasonably well. The solution is robust with respect to uncertainties in H̄. The EB model is much improved by a parameterization of the bottom friction via near-bottom velocity, which tends to shut off the flow in the shallow regions.

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