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Free Content A numerical study of wind forcing of eddies and jets in the California Current System

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A high-resolution, multi-level, primitive equation ocean model is used to examine the response to wind forcing of an idealized flat-bottomed oceanic regime along an eastern ocean boundary. A band of steady alongshore, upwelling favorable winds, either with or without alongshore variability, is used as forcing on both an f-plane and a, -plane. In each experiment a wind-driven equatorward coastal jet and a poleward undercurrent are generated. In time the coastal jet and undercurrent become unstable and lead to the development of eddies and jets with relatively strong onshore and offshore directed flows. The alongshore variation in alongshore wind stress plays a role in determining the location of eddy generation regions. A comparison of model results with available observations shows that the time-averaged model coastal jet and undercurrent are consistent in scale and magnitude with the observed data. Although the instantaneous eddies and jets are weaker than the corresponding observed features, they have horizontal scales typical of the observed scales. The results of this study support the hypothesis that steady wind forcing is one of several possible important generation mechanisms for eddies in the California Current System.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 1989-08-01

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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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