On the roles of baroclinic modes in eddy-resolving midlatitude ocean dynamics

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Title: On the roles of baroclinic modes in eddy-resolving midlatitude ocean dynamics
Authors: Shevchenko, I
Berloff, P
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: This work concerns how different baroclinic modes interact and influence solutions of the midlatitude ocean dynamics described by the eddy-resolving quasi-geostrophic model of wind-driven gyres. We developed multi-modal energetics analysis to illuminate dynamical roles of the vertical modes, carried out a systematic analysis of modal energetics and found that the eddy-resolving dynamics of the eastward jet extension of the western boundary currents, such as the Gulf Stream or Kuroshio, is dominated by the barotropic, and the first and second baroclinic modes, which become more energized with smaller eddy viscosity. In the absence of high baroclinic modes, the energy input from the wind is more efficiently focused onto the lower modes, therefore, the eddy backscatter maintaining the eastward jet and its adjacent recirculation zones is the strongest and overestimated with respect to cases including higher baroclinic modes. In the presence of high baroclinic modes, the eddy backscatter effect on the eastward jet is much weaker. Thus, the higher baroclinic modes play effectively the inhibiting role in the backscatter, which is opposite to what has been previously thought. The higher baroclinic modes are less energetic and have progressively decreasing effect on the flow dynamics; nevertheless, they still play important roles in inter-mode energy transfers (by injecting energy into the region of the most intensive eddy forcing, in the neighborhood of the eastward jet) that have to be taken into account for correct representation of the backscatter and, thus, for determining the eastward jet extension.
Issue Date: 7-Feb-2017
Date of Acceptance: 6-Feb-2017
ISSN: 1463-5011
Publisher: Elsevier
Start Page: 55
End Page: 65
Journal / Book Title: Ocean Modelling
Volume: 111
Copyright Statement: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Funder's Grant Number: NE/J006602/1
Keywords: Science & Technology
Physical Sciences
Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
Multi-layer quasi-geostrophic model
Baroclinic modes
Modal energetics
Eddy backscatter
Nonlinear eddy dynamics
Large-scale ocean circulation
0405 Oceanography
Publication Status: Published
Appears in Collections:Mathematics
Centre for Environmental Policy
Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Physics
Faculty of Natural Sciences

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