On the role of topography in the ocean circulation
Abstract:The ideas developed by Rhines and Young (1982a,b) are used to analyze the effect of topography in simple baroclinic models. The presence of longitude-dependent topography induces strong internal jets with transports of the same magnitude as the interior flow. It is shown that the existence of these features is independent of the forcing structure at the top of the model ocean, of the topography form and of the forcing in subsurface layers as long as the latter is small. Some examples are given both for forcings which, in the absence of topography, would give circulations closed in the interior and for forcings that require a western boundary current.
Topography also shifts the line of zero transport allowing for significant flow across the line of zero wind stress curl. Moreover, the lines dividing the subtropical gyre from the subpolar gyre are different in every layer, a feature absent in the flat bottom case.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 1986
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