Eddy formation on a continental slope
We consider a uniform-density ocean in which the depth-independent horizontal velocity is driven by a two-gyre wind. Numerical solutions of the governing vorticity equation reveal that the solutions with a flat ocean bottom differ greatly from those in which a continental shelf and slope are present along the western boundary. In the ocean basin with a western continental shelf, steady inertial circulations readily lose stability to unsteady inertial circulations that spawn eddies. However, eddies do not form in the corresponding solutions for the flat-bottom ocean. Reducing the friction leads to flat-bottom solutions that shed eddies far offshore, but still differ significantly from the corresponding continental-slope solutions, where eddies pinch off near the western boundary.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 1997-03-01
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