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  • Articles  (23)
  • Baroclinic flows  (23)
  • American Meteorological Society  (23)
  • MDPI Publishing
  • 1
    Publication Date: 2019-08-30
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2019. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 49(7), (2019): 1889-1904, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-19-0053.1.
    Description: A high-resolution numerical model, together with in situ and satellite observations, is used to explore the nature and dynamics of the dominant high-frequency (from one day to one week) variability in Denmark Strait. Mooring measurements in the center of the strait reveal that warm water “flooding events” occur, whereby the North Icelandic Irminger Current (NIIC) propagates offshore and advects subtropical-origin water northward through the deepest part of the sill. Two other types of mesoscale processes in Denmark Strait have been described previously in the literature, known as “boluses” and “pulses,” associated with a raising and lowering of the overflow water interface. Our measurements reveal that flooding events occur in conjunction with especially pronounced pulses. The model indicates that the NIIC hydrographic front is maintained by a balance between frontogenesis by the large-scale flow and frontolysis by baroclinic instability. Specifically, the temperature and salinity tendency equations demonstrate that the eddies act to relax the front, while the mean flow acts to sharpen it. Furthermore, the model reveals that the two dense water processes—boluses and pulses (and hence flooding events)—are dynamically related to each other and tied to the meandering of the hydrographic front in the strait. Our study thus provides a general framework for interpreting the short-time-scale variability of Denmark Strait Overflow Water entering the Irminger Sea.
    Description: MAS was supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grants OCE-1558742 and OCE-1534618. RSP, PL, and DM were supported by NSF under Grants OCE-1558742 and OCE-1259618. WJvA was supported by the Helmholtz Infrastructure Initiative FRAM. TWNH and MA were supported by NSF under Grants OCE-1633124 and OCE-118123.
    Description: 2020-07-01
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Frontogenesis/frontolysis ; Meridional overturning circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Topographic effects
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-03-17
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2209-2219, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0070.1.
    Description: Published observations of subinertial ocean current variability show that the vertical structure is often well described by a vertical mode that has a node of horizontal velocity at the bottom rather than the traditional node of vertical velocity. The theory of forced and free linear Rossby waves in a continuously stratified ocean with a sloping bottom and bottom friction is treated here to see if frictional effects can plausibly contribute to this phenomenon. For parameter values representative of the mesoscale, bottom dissipation by itself appears to be too weak to be an explanation, although caution is required because the present approach uses a linear model to address a nonlinear phenomenon. One novel outcome is the emergence of a short-wave, bottom-trapped, strongly damped mode that is present even with a flat bottom.
    Description: Partial funding for this article is provided by the National Science Foundation Physical Oceanography section through Award OCE-1433953.
    Description: 2019-03-17
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Ekman pumping/transport ; Rossby waves
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2018-08-26
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 479-509, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0283.1.
    Description: Lateral submesoscale processes and their influence on vertical stratification at shallow salinity fronts in the central Bay of Bengal during the winter monsoon are explored using high-resolution data from a cruise in November 2013. The observations are from a radiator survey centered at a salinity-controlled density front, embedded in a zone of moderate mesoscale strain (0.15 times the Coriolis parameter) and forced by winds with a downfront orientation. Below a thin mixed layer, often ≤10 m, the analysis shows several dynamical signatures indicative of submesoscale processes: (i) negative Ertel potential vorticity (PV); (ii) low-PV anomalies with O(1–10) km lateral extent, where the vorticity estimated on isopycnals and the isopycnal thickness are tightly coupled, varying in lockstep to yield low PV; (iii) flow conditions susceptible to forced symmetric instability (FSI) or bearing the imprint of earlier FSI events; (iv) negative lateral gradients in the absolute momentum field (inertial instability); and (v) strong contribution from differential sheared advection at O(1) km scales to the growth rate of the depth-averaged stratification. The findings here show one-dimensional vertical processes alone cannot explain the vertical stratification and its lateral variability over O(1–10) km scales at the radiator survey.
    Description: S. Ramachandran acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation through award OCE 1558849 and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Grants N00014-13-1-0456 and N00014-17- 1-2355. A. Tandon acknowledges support from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Grants N00014-13-1-0456 and N00014-17-1-2355. J. T. Farrar and R. A. Weller were supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, Grant N00014-13-1-0453, to collect the UCTD data and process theUCTD and shipboard meteorological data. J. Nash, J. Mackinnon, and A. F. Waterhouse acknowledge support from the U. S. Office of Naval Research, Grants N00014-13-1-0503 and N00014-14-1-0455. E. Shroyer acknowledges support from the U. S. Office of Naval Research, Grants N00014-14-10236 and N00014-15- 12634. A. Mahadevan acknowledges support fromthe U. S. Office of Naval Research, Grant N00014-13-10451. A. J. Lucas and R. Pinkel acknowledge support from the U. S. Office of Naval Research, Grant N00014-13-1-0489.
    Description: 2018-08-26
    Keywords: Indian Ocean ; Baroclinic flows ; Potential vorticity ; Fronts ; Monsoons ; Oceanic mixed layer
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2018-11-29
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2799-2827, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-18-0057.1.
    Description: The fjords that connect Greenland’s glaciers to the ocean are gateways for importing heat to melt ice and for exporting meltwater into the ocean. The transport of heat and meltwater can be modulated by various drivers of fjord circulation, including freshwater, local winds, and shelf variability. Shelf-forced flows (also known as the intermediary circulation) are the dominant mode of variability in two major fjords of east Greenland, but we lack a dynamical understanding of the fjord’s response to shelf forcing. Building on observations from east Greenland, we use numerical simulations and analytical models to explore the dynamics of shelf-driven flows. For the parameter space of Greenlandic fjords, we find that the fjord’s response is primarily a function of three nondimensional parameters: the fjord width over the deformation radius (W/Rd), the forcing time scale over the fjord adjustment time scale, and the forcing amplitude (shelf pycnocline displacements) over the upper-layer thickness. The shelf-forced flows in both the numerical simulations and the observations can largely be explained by a simple analytical model for Kelvin waves propagating around the fjord. For fjords with W/Rd 〉 0.5 (most Greenlandic fjords), 3D dynamics are integral to understanding shelf forcing—the fjord dynamics cannot be approximated with 2D models that neglect cross-fjord structure. The volume flux exchanged between the fjord and shelf increases for narrow fjords and peaks around the resonant forcing frequency, dropping off significantly at higher- and lower-frequency forcing.
    Description: This work was funded by NSF Grant OCE-1536856 and by the NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship.
    Keywords: Estuaries ; Glaciers ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Kelvin waves ; Regional models
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  • 5
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2018-02-16
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 47 (2017): 879-894, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0196.1.
    Description: Models show that surface cooling over a sloping continental shelf should give rise to baroclinic instability and thus tend toward gravitationally stable density stratification. Less is known about how alongshore winds affect this process, so the role of surface momentum input is treated here by means of a sequence of idealized, primitive equation numerical model calculations. The effects of cooling rate, wind amplitude and direction, bottom slope, bottom friction, and rotation rate are all considered. All model runs lead to instability and an eddy field. While instability is not strongly affected by upwelling-favorable alongshore winds, wind-driven downwelling substantially reduces eddy kinetic energy, largely because the downwelling circulation plays a similar role to baroclinic instability by flattening isotherms and so reducing available potential energy. Not surprisingly, cross-shelf winds appear to have little effect. Analysis of the model runs leads to quantitative relations for the wind effect on eddy kinetic energy for the equilibrium density stratification (which increases as the cooling rate increases) and for eddy length scale.
    Description: This research was supported by the National Science Foundation Physical Oceanography Program through Grant OCE-1433953.
    Keywords: Continental shelf/slope ; Baroclinic flows ; Eddies ; Instability
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2018-11-01
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 48 (2018): 2457-2475, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-17-0186.1.
    Description: A subpolar marginal sea, like the Nordic seas, is a transition zone between the temperature-stratified subtropics (the alpha ocean) and the salinity-stratified polar regions (the beta ocean). An inflow of Atlantic Water circulates these seas as a boundary current that is cooled and freshened downstream, eventually to outflow as Deep and Polar Water. Stratification in the boundary region is dominated by a thermocline over the continental slope and a halocline over the continental shelves, separating Atlantic Water from Deep and Polar Water, respectively. A conceptual model is introduced for the circulation and water mass transformation in a subpolar marginal sea to explore the potential interaction between the alpha and beta oceans. Freshwater input into the shelf regions has a slight strengthening effect on the Atlantic inflow, but more prominently impacts the water mass composition of the outflow. This impact of freshwater, characterized by enhancing Polar Water outflow and suppressing Deep Water outflow, is strongly determined by the source location of freshwater. Concretely, perturbations in upstream freshwater sources, like the Baltic freshwater outflow into the Nordic seas, have an order of magnitude larger potential to impact water mass transports than perturbations in downstream sources like the Arctic freshwater outflow. These boundary current dynamics are directly related to the qualitative stratification in transition zones and illustrate the interaction between the alpha and beta oceans.
    Description: This research was supported by the Research Council of Norway project NORTH. Support for the publication was provided by the University of Bergen. Ocean Outlook has supported a research visit for EL to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute where much of the current work has been carried out. Support forMAS was provided by the National Science Foundation Grant OCE-1558742.
    Keywords: Continental shelf/slope ; Baroclinic flows ; Boundary currents ; Buoyancy ; Freshwater ; Thermohaline circulation
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-07-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 47 (2017): 85-100, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0234.1.
    Description: Observations and analyses of two tidally recurring, oblique, internal hydraulic jumps at a stratified estuary mouth (Columbia River, Oregon/Washington) are presented. These hydraulic features have not previously been studied due to the challenges of both horizontally resolving the sharp gradients and temporally resolving their evolution in numerical models and traditional observation platforms. The jumps, both of which recurred during ebb, formed adjacent to two engineered lateral channel constrictions and were identified in marine radar image time series. Jump occurrence was corroborated by (i) a collocated sharp gradient in the surface currents measured via airborne along-track interferometric synthetic aperture radar and (ii) the transition from supercritical to subcritical flow in the cross-jump direction via shipborne velocity and density measurements. Using a two-layer approximation, observed jump angles at both lateral constrictions are shown to lie within the theoretical bounds given by the critical internal long-wave (Froude) angle and the arrested maximum-amplitude internal bore angle, respectively. Also, intratidal and intertidal variability of the jump angles are shown to be consistent with that expected from the two-layer model, applied to varying stratification and current speed over a range of tidal and river discharge conditions. Intratidal variability of the upchannel jump angle is similar under all observed conditions, whereas the downchannel jump angle shows an additional association with stratification and ebb velocity during the low discharge periods. The observations additionally indicate that the upchannel jump achieves a stable position that is collocated with a similarly oblique bathymetric slope.
    Description: We acknowledge the financial support of the Office of Naval Research under Awards N00014-10-1-0932 and N00014-13-1-0364.
    Description: 2017-07-04
    Keywords: Estuaries ; Baroclinic flows ; Internal waves ; Microwave observations ; Remote sensing
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-09-14
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 47 (2017): 1205-1220, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-16-0258.1.
    Description: The linkage among total exchange flow, entrainment, and diffusive salt flux in estuaries is derived analytically using salinity coordinates, revealing the simple but important relationship between total exchange flow and mixing. Mixing is defined and quantified in this paper as the dissipation of salinity variance. The method uses the conservation of volume and salt to quantify and distinguish the diahaline transport of volume (i.e., entrainment) and diahaline diffusive salt flux. A numerical model of the Hudson estuary is used as an example of the application of the method in a realistic estuary with a persistent but temporally variable exchange flow. A notable finding of this analysis is that the total exchange flow and diahaline salt flux are out of phase with respect to the spring–neap cycle. Total exchange flow reaches its maximum near minimum neap tide, but diahaline salt transport reaches its maximum during the maximum spring tide. This phase shift explains the strong temporal variation of stratification and estuarine salt content through the spring–neap cycle. In addition to quantifying temporal variation, the method reveals the spatial variation of total exchange flow, entrainment, and diffusive salt flux through the estuary. For instance, the analysis of the Hudson estuary indicates that diffusive salt flux is intensified in the wider cross sections. The method also provides a simple means of quantifying numerical mixing in ocean models because it provides an estimate of the total dissipation of salinity variance, which is the sum of mixing due to the turbulence closure and numerical mixing.
    Description: T. Wang was supported by the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (Grant SKLEC-KF201509), the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant 2017B03514), and the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant XDA11010203). W. R. Geyer was supported by NSF Grant OCE 0926427 and ONR Grant N00014-16-1-2948. P. MacCready was supported by NSF Grant OCE-1634148.
    Description: 2017-09-14
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Conservation equations ; Diapycnal mixing ; Diffusion ; Entrainment ; Mixing
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2016-05-01
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 2773–2789, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0031.1.
    Description: Tidal oscillatory salt transport, induced by the correlation between tidal variations in salinity and velocity, is an important term for the subtidal salt balance under the commonly used Eulerian method of salt transport decomposition. In this paper, its mechanisms in a partially stratified estuary are investigated with a numerical model of the Hudson estuary. During neap tides, when the estuary is strongly stratified, the tidal oscillatory salt transport is mainly due to the hydraulic response of the halocline to the longitudinal variation of topography. This mechanism does not involve vertical mixing, so it should not be regarded as oscillatory shear dispersion, but instead it should be regarded as advective transport of salt, which results from the vertical distortion of exchange flow obtained in the Eulerian decomposition by vertical fluctuations of the halocline. During spring tides, the estuary is weakly stratified, and vertical mixing plays a significant role in the tidal variation of salinity. In the spring tide regime, the tidal oscillatory salt transport is mainly due to oscillatory shear dispersion. In addition, the transient lateral circulation near large channel curvature causes the transverse tilt of the halocline. This mechanism has little effect on the cross-sectionally integrated tidal oscillatory salt transport, but it results in an apparent left–right cross-channel asymmetry of tidal oscillatory salt transport. With the isohaline framework, tidal oscillatory salt transport can be regarded as a part of the net estuarine salt transport, and the Lagrangian advective mechanism and dispersive mechanism can be distinguished.
    Description: Tao Wang was supported by the Open Research Fund of State Key Laboratory of Estuarine and Coastal Research (Grant SKLEC-KF201509) and Chinese Scholarship Council. Geyer was supported by by NSF Grant OCE 0926427. Wensheng Jiang was supported by NSFC-Shandong Joint Fund for Marine Science Research Centers (Grant U1406401).
    Description: 2016-05-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Estuaries ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Dispersion ; Shear structure/flows ; Atm/Ocean Structure/ Phenomena ; Diapycnal mixing ; Models and modeling ; Regional models
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  • 10
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2015. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 45 (2015): 546–561, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-14-0082.1.
    Description: Model studies and observations in the Hudson River estuary indicate that frontogenesis occurs as a result of topographic forcing. Bottom fronts form just downstream of lateral constrictions, where the width of the estuary increases in the down-estuary (i.e., seaward) direction. The front forms during the last several hours of the ebb, when the combination of adverse pressure gradient in the expansion and baroclinicity cause a stagnation of near-bottom velocity. Frontogenesis is observed in two dynamical regimes: one in which the front develops at a transition from subcritical to supercritical flow and the other in which the flow is everywhere supercritical. The supercritical front formation appears to be associated with lateral flow separation. Both types of fronts are three-dimensional, with strong lateral gradients along the flanks of the channel. During spring tide conditions, the fronts dissipate during the flood, whereas during neap tides the fronts are advected landward during the flood. The zone of enhanced density gradient initiates frontogenesis at multiple constrictions along the estuary as it propagates landward more than 60 km during several days of neap tides. Frontogenesis and frontal propagation may thus be essential elements of the spring-to-neap transition to stratified conditions in partially mixed estuaries.
    Description: Support for this research was provided by NSF Grant OCE 0926427.
    Description: 2015-08-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Frontogenesis/frontolysis ; Fronts
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  • 11
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2013. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 43 (2013): 1398–1406, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-028.1.
    Description: An adiabatic, inertial, and quasigeostrophic model is used to discuss the interaction of surface Ekman transport with an island. The theory extends the recent work of Spall and Pedlosky to include an analytical and nonlinear model for the interaction. The presence of an island that interrupts a uniform Ekman layer transport raises interesting questions about the resulting circulation. The consequential upwelling around the island can lead to a local intake of fluid from the geostrophic region beneath the Ekman layer or to a more complex flow around the island in which the fluid entering the Ekman layer on one portion of the island's perimeter is replaced by a flow along the island's boundary from a downwelling region located elsewhere on the island. This becomes especially pertinent when the flow is quasigeostrophic and adiabatic. The oncoming geostrophic flow that balances the offshore Ekman flux is largely diverted around the island, and the Ekman flux is fed by a transfer of fluid from the western to the eastern side of the island. As opposed to the linear, dissipative model described earlier, this transfer takes place even in the absence of a topographic skirt around the island. The principal effect of topography in the inertial model is to introduce an asymmetry between the circulation on the northern and southern sides of the island. The quasigeostrophic model allows a simple solution to the model problem with topography and yet the resulting three-dimensional circulation is surprisingly complex with streamlines connecting each side of the island.
    Description: This research was supported in part by NSF Grant OCE Grant 0925061.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Large-scale motions ; Nonlinear dynamics ; Ocean circulation ; Ocean dynamics ; Topographic effects
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  • 12
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 319–342, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-095.1.
    Description: The California Undercurrent (CUC), a poleward-flowing feature over the continental slope, is a key transport pathway along the west coast of North America and an important component of regional upwelling dynamics. This study examines the poleward undercurrent and alongshore pressure gradients in the northern California Current System (CCS), where local wind stress forcing is relatively weak. The dynamics of the undercurrent are compared in the primitive equation Navy Coastal Ocean Model and a linear coastal trapped wave model. Both models are validated using hydrographic data and current-meter observations in the core of the undercurrent in the northern CCS. In the linear model, variability in the predominantly equatorward wind stress along the U.S. West Coast produces episodic reversals to poleward flow over the northern CCS slope during summer. However, reproducing the persistence of the undercurrent during late summer requires additional incoming energy from sea level variability applied south of the region of the strongest wind forcing. The relative importance of the barotropic and baroclinic components of the modeled alongshore pressure gradient changes with latitude. In contrast to the southern and central portions of the CCS, the baroclinic component of the alongshore pressure gradient provides the primary poleward force at CUC depths over the northern CCS slope. At time scales from weeks to months, the alongshore pressure gradient force is primarily balanced by the Coriolis force associated with onshore flow.
    Description: This work was supported by grants to B. Hickey from the Coastal Ocean Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (NA17OP2789 and NA09NOS4780180) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) (OCE0234587 and OCE0942675) as part of the Ecology of Harmful Algal Blooms Pacific Northwest (ECOHAB PNW) and Pacific Northwest Toxin (PNWTOX) projects. I. Shulman was supported by the Naval Research Laboratory.
    Description: 2014-07-01
    Keywords: Geographic location/entity ; Continental shelf/slope ; Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Coastal flows ; Models and modeling ; Model evaluation/performance ; Variability ; Intraseasonal variability ; Seasonal variability
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  • 13
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2014. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 44 (2014): 834-849, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-0179.1.
    Description: A hydrostatic numerical model with alongshore-uniform barotropic M2 tidal boundary forcing and idealized shelfbreak canyon bathymetries is used to study internal-tide generation and onshore propagation. A control simulation with Mid-Atlantic Bight representative bathymetry is supported by other simulations that serve to identify specific processes. The canyons and adjacent slopes are transcritical in steepness with respect to M2 internal wave characteristics. Although the various canyons are symmetrical in structure, barotropic-to-baroclinic energy conversion rates Cυ are typically asymmetrical within them. The resulting onshore-propagating internal waves are the strongest along beams in the horizontal plane, with the stronger beam in the control simulation lying on the side with higher Cυ. Analysis of the simulation results suggests that the cross-canyon asymmetrical Cυ distributions are caused by multiple-scattering effects on one canyon side slope, because the phase variation in the spatially distributed internal-tide sources, governed by variations in the orientation of the bathymetry gradient vector, allows resonant internal-tide generation. A less complex, semianalytical, modal internal wave propagation model with sources placed along the critical-slope locus (where the M2 internal wave characteristic is tangent to the seabed) and variable source phasing is used to diagnose the physics of the horizontal beams of onshore internal wave radiation. Model analysis explains how the cross-canyon phase and amplitude variations in the locally generated internal tides affect parameters of the internal-tide beams. Under the assumption that strong internal tides on continental shelves evolve to include nonlinear wave trains, the asymmetrical internal-tide generation and beam radiation effects may lead to nonlinear internal waves and enhanced mixing occurring preferentially on one side of shelfbreak canyons, in the absence of other influencing factors.
    Description: All three authors were supported by Office of Naval Research (ONR) Grant N00014-11-1-0701. WGZ was additionally supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant OCE-1154575, and TFD was additionally supported by NSF Grant OCE-1060430.
    Description: 2014-09-01
    Keywords: Circulation/ Dynamics ; Baroclinic flows ; Internal waves ; Ocean circulation ; Topographic effects ; Waves, oceanic ; Models and modeling ; Numerical analysis/modeling
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  • 14
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2011. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 41 (2011): 2168–2186, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-08.1.
    Description: This paper studies the interaction of an Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC)–like wind-driven channel flow with a continental slope and a flat-bottomed bay-shaped shelf near the channel’s southern boundary. Interaction between the model ACC and the topography in the second layer induces local changes of the potential vorticity (PV) flux, which further causes the formation of a first-layer PV front near the base of the topography. Located between the ACC and the first-layer slope, the newly formed PV front is constantly perturbed by the ACC and in turn forces the first-layer slope with its own variability in an intermittent but persistent way. The volume transport of the slope water across the first-layer slope edge is mostly directly driven by eddies and meanders of the new front, and its magnitude is similar to the maximum Ekman transport in the channel. Near the bay’s opening, the effect of the topographic waves, excited by offshore variability, dominates the cross-isobath exchange and induces a mean clockwise shelf circulation. The waves’ propagation is only toward the west and tends to be blocked by the bay’s western boundary in the narrow-shelf region. The ensuing wave–coast interaction amplifies the wave amplitude and the cross-shelf transport. Because the interaction only occurs near the western boundary, the shelf water in the west of the bay is more readily carried offshore than that in the east and the mean shelf circulation is also intensified along the bay’s western boundary.
    Description: Y. Zhang acknowledges the support of the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Physical Oceanography and NSF OCE-9901654 and OCE- 0451086. J. Pedlosky acknowledges the support of NSF OCE-9901654 and OCE-0451086.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Eddies ; Fronts ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Mesoscale processes ; Topographic effects
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  • 15
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2012. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 42 (2012): 1083–1098, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-11-015.1.
    Description: Here, the response of a coastally trapped buoyant plume to downwelling-favorable wind forcing is explored using a simplified two-dimensional numerical model and a prognostic theory for the resulting width, depth, and density anomaly and along-shelf transport of the plume. Consistent with the numerical simulations, the analytical model shows that the wind causes mixing of the plume water and that the forced cross-shelf circulation can also generate significant deepening and surface narrowing, as well as increased along-shelf transport. The response is due to a combination of the purely advective process that leads to the steepening of the isopycnals and the entrainment of ambient water into the plume. The advective component depends on the initial plume geometry: plumes that have a large fraction of their total width in contact with the bottom (“bottom trapped”) suffer relatively small depth and width changes compared to plumes that have a large fraction of their total width detached from the bottom (“surface trapped”). Key theoretical parameters are Wγ/Wα, the ratio of the width of the plume detached from the bottom to the width of the plume in contact with it, and the ratio of the wind-generated mixed layer δe to the initial plume depth hp, which determines the amount of water initially entrained into the plume. The model results also show that the cross-shelf circulation can be strongly influenced by the wind-driven response in combination with the geostrophic shear of the plume. The continuous entrainment into the plume, as well as transient events, is also discussed.
    Description: This work has been supported by FONDECYT Grant 1070501. S. Lentz received support by theNational Science Foundation GrantOCE-0751554. C. Moffat had additional support from the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs through U.S. Southern Ocean GLOBEC Grants OPP 99-10092 and 06- 23223.
    Description: 2013-01-01
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Boundary currents ; Coastal flows ; Upwelling/downwelling ; Wind ; Ocean models
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 16
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 40 (2010): 1075-1086, doi:10.1175/2009JPO4375.1.
    Description: A quasigeostrophic, two-layer model is used to study the baroclinic circulation around a thin, meridionally elongated island. The flow is driven by either buoyancy forcing or wind stress, each of whose structure would produce an antisymmetric double-gyre flow. The ocean bottom is flat. When the island partially straddles the intergyre boundary, fluid from one gyre is forced to flow into the other. The amount of the intergyre flow depends on the island constant, that is, the value of the geostrophic streamfunction on the island in each layer. That constant is calculated in a manner similar to earlier studies and is determined by the average, along the meridional length of the island, of the interior Sverdrup solution just to the east of the island. Explicit solutions are given for both buoyancy and wind-driven flows. The presence of an island of nonzero width requires the determination of the baroclinic streamfunction on the basin’s eastern boundary. The value of the boundary term is proportional to the island’s area. This adds a generally small additional baroclinic intergyre flow. In all cases, the intergyre flow produced by the island is not related to topographic steering of the flow but rather the pressure anomaly on the island as manifested by the barotropic and baroclinic island constants. The vertical structure of the flow around the island is a function of the parameterization of the vertical mixing in the problem and, in particular, the degree to which long baroclinic Rossby waves can traverse the basin before becoming thermally damped.
    Description: This research was supported in part by NSF Grant OCE 0451086.
    Keywords: Gyres ; Baroclinic flows ; Topographic effects ; Streamfunction ; Orographic effects
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  • 17
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2007. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 37 (2007): 1177-1191, doi:10.1175/jpo3054.1.
    Description: The stability of baroclinic Rossby waves in large ocean basins is examined, and the quasigeostrophic (QG) results of LaCasce and Pedlosky are generalized. First, stability equations are derived for perturbations on large-scale waves, using the two-layer shallow-water system. These equations resemble the QG stability equations, except that they retain the variation of the internal deformation radius with latitude. The equations are solved numerically for different initial conditions through eigenmode calculations and time stepping. The fastest-growing eigenmodes are intensified at high latitudes, and the slower-growing modes are intensified at lower latitudes. All of the modes have meridional scales and growth times that are comparable to the deformation radius in the latitude range where the eigenmode is intensified. This is what one would expect if one had applied QG theory in latitude bands. The evolution of large-scale waves was then simulated using the Regional Ocean Modeling System primitive equation model. The results are consistent with the theoretical predictions, with deformation-scale perturbations growing at rates inversely proportional to the local deformation radius. The waves succumb to the perturbations at the mid- to high latitudes, but are able to cross the basin at low latitudes before doing so. Also, the barotropic waves produced by the instability propagate faster than the baroclinic long-wave speed, which may explain the discrepancy in speeds noted by Chelton and Schlax.
    Description: PEI was supported by a postdoctoral grant from the Norwegian Research Council, JHL was supported under the Norwegian NOCLIM II program, and JP was partly supported by NSF OCE 0451086.
    Keywords: Rossby waves ; Ocean models ; Barotropic flows ; Baroclinic flows
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  • 18
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 39 (2009): 107-124, doi:10.1175/2008JPO3952.1.
    Description: In most estuarine systems it is assumed that the dominant along-channel momentum balance is between the integrated pressure gradient and bed stress. Scaling the amplitude of the estuarine circulation based on this balance has been shown to have predictive skill. However, a number of authors recently highlighted important nonlinear processes that contribute to the subtidal dynamics at leading order. In this study, a previously validated numerical model of the Hudson River estuary is used to examine the forces driving the residual estuarine circulation and to test the predictive skill of two linear scaling relationships. Results demonstrate that the nonlinear advective acceleration terms contribute to the subtidal along-channel momentum balance at leading order. The contribution of these nonlinear terms is driven largely by secondary lateral flows. Under a range of forcing conditions in the model runs, the advective acceleration terms nearly always act in concert with the baroclinic pressure gradient, reinforcing the residual circulation. Despite the strong contribution of the nonlinear advective terms to the subtidal dynamical balance, a linear scaling accurately predicts the strength of the observed residual circulation in the model. However, this result is largely fortuitous, as this scaling does not account for two processes that are fundamental to the estuarine circulation. The skill of this scaling results because of the compensatory relationship between the contribution of the advective acceleration terms and the suppression of turbulence due to density stratification. Both of these processes, neither of which is accounted for in the linear scaling, increase the residual estuarine circulation but have an opposite dependence on tidal amplitude and, consequently, strength of stratification.
    Description: This research was supported by the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries—Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution postdoctoral fellowship program, as well as NSF Grants OCE-0452054 and OCE-0451740.
    Keywords: Advection ; Estuarine circulation ; Friction ; Density currents ; Baroclinic flows
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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  • 19
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2009. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 39 (2009): 387-403, doi:10.1175/2008JPO3934.1.
    Description: Marginal sea overflows and the overlying upper ocean are coupled in the vertical by two distinct mechanisms—by an interfacial mass flux from the upper ocean to the overflow layer that accompanies entrainment and by a divergent eddy flux associated with baroclinic instability. Because both mechanisms tend to be localized in space, the resulting upper ocean circulation can be characterized as a β plume for which the relevant background potential vorticity is set by the slope of the topography, that is, a topographic β plume. The entrainment-driven topographic β plume consists of a single gyre that is aligned along isobaths. The circulation is cyclonic within the upper ocean (water columns are stretched). The transport within one branch of the topographic β plume may exceed the entrainment flux by a factor of 2 or more. Overflows are likely to be baroclinically unstable, especially near the strait. This creates eddy variability in both the upper ocean and overflow layers and a flux of momentum and energy in the vertical. In the time mean, the eddies accompanying baroclinic instability set up a double-gyre circulation in the upper ocean, an eddy-driven topographic β plume. In regions where baroclinic instability is growing, the momentum flux from the overflow into the upper ocean acts as a drag on the overflow and causes the overflow to descend the slope at a steeper angle than what would arise from bottom friction alone. Numerical model experiments suggest that the Faroe Bank Channel overflow should be the most prominent example of an eddy-driven topographic β plume and that the resulting upper-layer transport should be comparable to that of the overflow. The overflow-layer eddies that accompany baroclinic instability are analogous to those observed in moored array data. In contrast, the upper layer of the Mediterranean overflow is likely to be dominated more by an entrainment-driven topographic β plume. The difference arises because entrainment occurs at a much shallower location for the Mediterranean case and the background potential vorticity gradient of the upper ocean is much larger.
    Description: SK’s support during the time of his Ph.D. research in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program was provided by the National Science Foundation through Grant OCE04-24741. JP and JY have also received support from the Climate Process Team on Gravity Current Entrainment, NSF Grant OCE-0611530. JY has also been supported by NSF Grant OCE-0351055.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Mass fluxes/transport ; Entrainment ; Topographic effects ; Potential vorticity
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  • 20
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    American Meteorological Society
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 38 (2008): 1267-1277, doi:10.1175/2007JPO3906.1.
    Description: A two-layer quasigeostrophic model in a channel is used to study the influence of lateral displacements of regions of different sign mean potential vorticity gradient (Πy) on the growth rate and structure of linearly unstable waves. The mean state is very idealized, with a region of positive Πy in the upper layer and a region of negative Πy in the lower layer; elsewhere Πy is zero. The growth rate and structure of the model’s unstable waves are quite sensitive to the amount of overlap between the two regions. For large amounts of overlap (more than several internal deformation radii), the channel modes described by Phillips’ model are recovered. The growth rate decreases abruptly as the amount of overlap decreases below the internal deformation radius. However, unstable modes are also found for cases in which the two nonzero Πy regions are separated far apart. In these cases, the wavenumber of the unstable waves decreases such that the aspect ratio of the wave remains O(1). The waves are characterized by a large-scale barotropic component that has maximum amplitude near one boundary but extends all the way across the channel to the opposite boundary. Near the boundaries, the wave is of mixed barotropic–baroclinic structure with cross-front scales on the order of the internal deformation radius. The perturbation heat flux is concentrated near the nonzero Πy regions, but the perturbation momentum flux extends all the way across the channel. The perturbation fluxes act to reduce the isopycnal slopes near the channel boundaries and to transmit zonal momentum from the region of Πy 〉 0 to the region on the opposite side of the channel where Πy 〈 0. These nonzero perturbation momentum fluxes are found even for a mean state that has no lateral shear in the velocity field.
    Description: This work was supported by NSF Grants OPP-0421904, OCE-0423975 (MAS), and OCE- 85108600 (JP).
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Barotropic flows
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  • 21
    Publication Date: 2017-01-05
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 40 (2010): 1851-1865, doi:10.1175/2010JPO4217.1.
    Description: Motivated by the fact that time-dependent currents are ubiquitous in the ocean, this work studies the two-layer Phillips model on the beta plane with baroclinic shear flows that are steady, periodic, or aperiodic in time to understand their nonlinear evolution better. When a linearly unstable basic state is slightly perturbed, the primary wave grows exponentially until nonlinear advection adjusts the growth. Even though for long time scales these nearly two-dimensional motions predominantly cascade energy to large scales, for relatively short times the wave–mean flow and wave–wave interactions cascade energy to smaller horizontal length scales. The authors demonstrate that the manner through which these mechanisms excite the harmonics depends significantly on the characteristics of the basic state. Time-dependent basic states can excite harmonics very rapidly in comparison to steady basic states. Moreover, in all the simulations of aperiodic baroclinic shear flows, the barotropic component of the primary wave continues to grow after the adjustment by the nonlinearities. Furthermore, the authors find that the correction to the zonal mean flow can be much larger when the basic state is aperiodic compared to the periodic or steady limits. Finally, even though time-dependent baroclinic shear on an f plane is linearly stable, the authors show that perturbations can grow algebraically in the linear regime because of the erratic variations in the aperiodic flow. Subsequently, baroclinicity adjusts the growing wave and creates a final state that is more energetic than the nonlinear adjustment of any of the unstable steady baroclinic shears that are considered.
    Description: FJP was supported by NSERC and JP was supported by NSF OCE 0925061 during the research and writing of this manuscript.
    Keywords: Baroclinic flows ; Shear structure/flows
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  • 22
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2008. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 38 (2008): 380-399, doi:10.1175/2007JPO3728.1.
    Description: Barotropic to baroclinic conversion and attendant phenomena were recently examined at the Kaena Ridge as an aspect of the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Experiment. Two distinct mixing processes appear to be at work in the waters above the 1100-m-deep ridge crest. At middepths, above 400 m, mixing events resemble their open-ocean counterparts. There is no apparent modulation of mixing rates with the fortnightly cycle, and they are well modeled by standard open-ocean parameterizations. Nearer to the topography, there is quasi-deterministic breaking associated with each baroclinic crest passage. Large-amplitude, small-scale internal waves are triggered by tidal forcing, consistent with lee-wave formation at the ridge break. These waves have vertical wavelengths on the order of 400 m. During spring tides, the waves are nonlinear and exhibit convective instabilities on their leading edge. Dissipation rates exceed those predicted by the open-ocean parameterizations by up to a factor of 100, with the disparity increasing as the seafloor is approached. These observations are based on a set of repeated CTD and microconductivity profiles obtained from the research platform (R/P) Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP), which was trimoored over the southern edge of the ridge crest. Ocean velocity and shear were resolved to a 4-m vertical scale by a suspended Doppler sonar. Dissipation was estimated both by measuring overturn displacements and from microconductivity wavenumber spectra. The methods agreed in water deeper than 200 m, where sensor resolution limitations do not limit the turbulence estimates. At intense mixing sites new phenomena await discovery, and existing parameterizations cannot be expected to apply.
    Description: This work was funded by the National Science Foundation as a component of the Hawaii Ocean Mixing Program. Added support for FLIP was provided by the Office of Naval Research.
    Keywords: Pacific Ocean ; Topographic effects ; Internal waves ; Barotropic flows ; Baroclinic flows
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  • 23
    Publication Date: 2017-01-04
    Description: Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2007. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 37 (2007): 1092–1097, doi:10.1175/JPO3045.1.
    Description: The impact of the observed relationship between sea surface temperature and surface wind stress on baroclinic instability in the ocean is explored using linear theory and a nonlinear model. A simple parameterization of the influence of sea surface temperature on wind stress is used to derive a surface boundary condition for the vertical velocity at the base of the oceanic Ekman layer. This boundary condition is applied to the classic linear, quasigeostrophic stability problem for a uniformly sheared flow originally studied by Eady in the 1940s. The results demonstrate that for a wind directed from warm water toward cold water, the coupling acts to enhance the growth rate, and increase the wavelength, of the most unstable wave. Winds in the opposite sense reduce the growth rate and decrease the wavelength of the most unstable wave. For representative coupling strengths, the change in growth rate can be as large as ±O(50%). This effect is largest for shallow, strongly stratified, low-latitude flows.
    Description: This work was supported by the Office of Naval Research Grant N00014-05-1-0300.
    Keywords: Wind stress ; Instability ; Sea surface temperature ; Baroclinic flows ; Ocean dynamics
    Repository Name: Woods Hole Open Access Server
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