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Free Content Observations on the vertical structure of tidal and inertial currents in the central North Sea

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Tidal and inertial current ellipses, measured at several locations and depths in the central North Sea during a number of monthly periods in 1980, 1981 and 1982, are decomposed into counterrotating, circular components to which Ekman dynamics are applied to determine Ekman layer depths and vertical phase differences, from which are inferred overall values of the eddy viscosity and drag coefficient. Stratification effects produce an additional vertical phase shift of the anticyclonic rotary component, indicative of an inverse proportionality of the eddy viscosity to the vertical density gradient. From the time variations of the Ekman layer depths of the semidiurnal tidal components, as well as from the vertical structure of the inertial current component, we infer variations in the relative vorticity of the low-frequency flow.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1987

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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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