Free Content Assessing the energetics and dynamics of the Gulf Stream at 68W from moored current measurements

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The energetics and dynamics of the Gulf Stream at 68W have been investigated using year-long time series of velocity and temperature throughout the water column. The major results that have emerged are as follows: (1) There is a net conversion of mean to eddy kinetic and potential energies, the barotropic mechanism being almost twice as strong as the baroclinic. These energy exchanges are dominated by what is happening in the upper 1000 m of the water column. (2) Comparison with other studies suggests that the mooring site may be characterized as a region of downstream spatial growth in eddy energy, with a growth rate of 3–4 × 10−3km−1. (3) Curvature changes due to the changing Stream path are sufficient to balance stretching of the water column below the thermocline, the dominant measurable effect in the vorticity equation. (4) A kinematic scheme including and relating barotropic cross-stream velocities, local temperature changes, stretching, and curvature changes is shown to be generally consistent with the observed data. (5) The vertical mass divergence ∂w/∂z affects continuity at lowest order, and may be associated with along-stream changes in transport, a vertical redistribution of the alongstream momentum flux, or changing Stream width.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 1986

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  • 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.
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