Author Posting. © Cambridge University Press, 2005. This article is posted here by permission of Cambridge University Press for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Fluid Mechanics 529 (2005): 71-95, doi:10.1017/S0022112005003393.
The role of mesoscale oceanic eddies in driving large-scale currents is studied in an eddy-resolving midlatitude double-gyre ocean model. The reference solution is decomposed into large-scale and eddy components in a way which is dynamically consistent with a non-eddy-resolving ocean model. That is, the non-eddy-resolving solution driven by this eddy-forcing history, calculated on the basis of this decomposition, correctly approximates the original flow. The main effect of the eddy forcing on the large-scale flow is to enhance the eastward-jet extension of the subtropical western boundary current. This is an anti-diffusive process, which cannot be represented in terms of turbulent diffusion. It is shown that the eddy-forcing history can be approximated as a space–time correlated, random-forcing process in such a way that the non-eddy-resolving solution correctly approximates the reference solution. Thus, the random-forcing model can potentially replace the diffusion model, which is commonly used to parameterize eddy effects on the large-scale currents. The eddy-forcing statistics are treated as spatially inhomogeneous but stationary, and the dynamical roles of space–time correlations and spatial inhomogeneities are systematically explored. The integral correlation time, oscillations of the space correlations, and inhomogeneity of the variance are found to be particularly important for the flow response.
Funding for this research was provided by NSF grants OCE 0091836 and OCE 03-44094, by the Royal Society Fellowship, and by WHOI grants 27100056 and 52990035.
Mesoscale oceanic eddies
Woods Hole Open Access Server