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): 1361-1379, doi:10.1175/2008JPO4096.1.
Multiple zonal jets are observed in satellite data–based estimates of oceanic velocities, float measurements, and high-resolution numerical simulations of the ocean circulation. This study makes a step toward understanding the dynamics of these jets in the real ocean by analyzing the vertical structure and dynamical balances within multiple zonal jets simulated in an eddy-resolving primitive equation model of the North Atlantic. In particular, the authors focus on the role of eddy flux convergences (“eddy forcing”) in supporting the buoyancy and relative/potential vorticity (PV) anomalies associated with the jets. The results suggest a central role of baroclinic eddies in the barotropic and baroclinic dynamics of the jets, and significant differences in the effects of eddy forcing between the subtropical and subpolar gyres. Additionally, diabatic potential vorticity sources and sinks, associated with vertical diffusion, are shown to play an important role in supporting the potential vorticity anomalies. The resulting potential vorticity profile does not resemble a “PV staircase”—a distinct meridional structure observed in some idealized studies of geostrophic turbulence.
Funding for IK was provided
by NSF Grants OCE 0346178 and 0749722. Funding for
PB was provided by NSF Grants OCE 0344094 and
OCE 0725796 and by the research grant from the
Newton Trust of the University of Cambridge. For JP
the acknowledgement is to NSF OCE-0451086.
North Atlantic Ocean
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