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Wind-Driven Circulation in a Stratified Ocean Consider the ocean in several isopycnal layers that can be separated into two groups: Layers that outcrop.

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Presentation on theme: "Wind-Driven Circulation in a Stratified Ocean Consider the ocean in several isopycnal layers that can be separated into two groups: Layers that outcrop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wind-Driven Circulation in a Stratified Ocean Consider the ocean in several isopycnal layers that can be separated into two groups: Layers that outcrop at the sea surface and layers that are shielded from the sea surface When a region is connected to the sea surface, it is ventilated Beyond the circulation theories of ocean with uniform density

2 In each isopycnal layer, there can be three regions: 1). That filled with subducted water (ventilated region) 2). A western unventilated pool with streamlines connecting from the western boundary and back into the western boundary without entering the surface layer 3). An eastern quite (shadow) zone between the eastern most subducting streamline and the eastern boundary

3 Water mass formation by subduction occurs mainly in the subtropics. Water from the bottom of the mixed layer is pumped downward through a convergence in the Ekman transport Water “sinks” slowly along surfaces of constant density. This “downward” advection into the ocean, along isopycnals and therefore without significant diapycnal mixing after leaving the surface, is call subduction The opposite of subduction is obduction, i.e. water from subsurface isopycnals enters the surface layer Subduction

4 Sketch of water mass formation by subduction First diagram: Convergence in the Ekman layer (surface mixed layer) forces water downward, where it moves along surfaces of constant density. The  t surface, given by the TS-combination 8°C and 34.7 salinity, is identified. Second diagram: A TS- diagram along the surface through stations A ->D is identical to a TS-diagram taken vertically along depths A´ - D´.

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6 Over the T-S range of the thermocline, the vertical profile at 20 o S are nearly identical with the T-S diagram of the surface temperature and salinity between 30 o S and 45 o S in late winter (August- October) but different during all other seasons

7 Transport: Florida current 30Sv (15-38Sv) Cape Hatteras 85Sv 65 o W 150Sv (contributions by Antilles Current Gulf Stream rings 40Sv) Florida current (flowing over continental shelf) is characterized by salinity minimum due to the Antarctic Intermediate Water brought in by the South Equatorial Current Antilles Current is composed mostly of North Atlantic Water Southwestward countercurrent in deep ocean (9-18cm/s) Transport 15Sv (2-50Sv)

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9 Southwestward countercurrent in deep ocean (9-18cm/s) Transport 16 Sv (2-50Sv)

10 Width: 120km Cold wall: 1/200 Thermostad Between 16 o -20 o C 18 o water Its properties are very consistent within a few tenth of a degree on either side of 18 o C and with a salinity of 36.4 to 36.6 It is possibly winter formed. Its rate of annual formation is not well known

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12 Western Boundary current: Gulf Stream

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15 Meso-scale eddies (Gulf-stream Rings)

16 Gulf Stream Rings and Ocean Eddies

17 Gulf Stream Ring and Ocean Eddies km in diameter Vertical dimension 3000m Life time up to 2 years Cold ring, cyclonic Thermocline 500m higher than surrounding water SSH 95cm deeper (obs) Warm ring, anticyclonic SSH 75cm higher (obs) At any time, there may be 3- 4 warm rings north of the stream and 8-15 cold rings south of it Move south or southwestward a few km/day Merge with the stream again

18 Kuroshio: 40 Sv; Kuroshio Extension: 65 Sv (170 o W). Core speed, cm/s Width (V > 1m/s): 80km

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20 Equatorial Circulation System

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23 Equatorial Under Current

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25 Geostrophic balance near the equator

26 Equatorial Under Current Core close to the equator, ~1m/s Below mixed layer Thickness ~ 100 m Half-width 1-2 degrees (Rossby radius at the equator) Forced by zonal pressure gradient established by equatorial easterlies Surface slope 5 x 10 -8

27 Geostrophy contributes to the stability of an eastward flow along the equator

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