Skip to main content

Free Content A zero potential vorticity model of the North Brazilian Coastal Current

Download Article:
(PDF 1235.5400390625 kb)


The North Brazilian Coastal Current (NBCC) is idealized as an inertial, surface layer jet of equatorial origin, intruding along the coast into a northern water mass of constant, positive potential vorticity. Dissipation is accounted for by supposing that some equatorial water leaks out in the northwest corner of the intrusion. The problem is closed by adopting the free streamline boundary condition (between the northern and equatorial water masses) of continuous layer depth and velocity.

Calculations are made for flow (intruding and return) supposed parallel to the coast; this approximation is verified à posteriori. The results show a narrow intrusion region along the coast, equatorial fluid flowing northwestward next to the coast, peeling off and returning along the boundary streamline. When no leakage is postulated, the northern limit of the intrusion becomes a stagnation point where the coast and the boundary streamline meet. With substantial leakage postulated, the flow chokes at some limiting latitude, where the inviscid inertial model breaks down. However, a realistic intrusion-return flow pattern is calculated south of the choking latitude for a number of different illustrative cases. The key control parameter is the potential vorticity of the northern water mass, or in a nondimensional form, the ratio of the rest-depths, at a given latitude, of the equatorial and northern water masses.

The model accounts for a number of observed facets of NBCC behavior, notably its seasonal cycle, magnitude of the transports, intrusive and return flow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 1985-08-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Marine Research publishes peer-reviewed research articles covering a broad array of topics in physical, biological and chemical oceanography. Articles that deal with processes, as well as those that report significant observations, are welcome. In the area of biology, studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. Authors benefit from thorough reviews of their manuscripts, where an attempt is made to maximize clarity. The time between submission and publication is kept to a minimum; there is no page charge.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free ContentFree content
  • Partial Free ContentPartial Free content
  • New ContentNew content
  • Open Access ContentOpen access content
  • Partial Open Access ContentPartial Open access content
  • Subscribed ContentSubscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed ContentPartial Subscribed content
  • Free Trial ContentFree trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more