Free Content Eigenanalysis of the two-dimensional wind-driven ocean circulation problem

(PDF 2,341.2kb)
Download Article:


A barotropic model of the wind-driven circulation in the subtropical region of the ocean is considered. A no-slip condition is specified at the coasts and slip at the fluid boundaries. Solutions are governed by two parameters: inertial boundary-layer width; and viscous boundary-layer width. Numerical computations indicate the existence of a wedge-shaped region in this two-dimensional parameter space, where three steady solutions coexist. The structure of the steady solution can be of three types: boundary-layer, recirculation and basin-filling-gyre. Compared to the case with slip conditions (Ierley and Sheremet, 1995) in the no-slip case the wedge-shaped region is displaced to higher Reynolds numbers.

Linear stability analysis of solutions reveals several classes of perturbations: basin modes of Rossby waves, modes associated with the recirculation gyre, wall-trapped modes and a “resonant” mode. For a standard subtropical gyre wind forcing, as the Reynolds number increases, the wall-trapped mode is the first one destabilized. The resonant mode associated with disturbances on the southern side of the recirculation gyre is amplified only at larger Reynolds number, nonetheless this mode ultimately provides a stronger coupling between the mean circulation and Rossby basin modes than do the wall-trapped modes.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 1997

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
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content

Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect 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