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Free Content Barotropic, wind-driven circulation in a small basin

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We study the asymptotic behavior (large time) of a simple, wind-driven, barotropic ocean model, described by a nonlinear partial differential equation with two spatial dimensions. Considered as a dynamical system, this model has an infinite-dimensional phase space. After discretization, the equivalent numerical model has a phase space of finite but large dimension. We find that for a considerable range of friction, the asymptotic states are low-dimensional attractors. We describe the changes in the structure of these asymptotic attractors as a function of the eddy viscosity of the model. A variety of different types of attractor are seen, with chaotic attractors predominating at higher Reynolds numbers. As the Reynolds number is increased, we observe a slow increase in the dimension of the chaotic attractors. Using an energy analysis, we examine the nature of the instability responsible for the Hopf bifurcation that initiates the transition from asymptotically steady states to time-dependent states.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 1997

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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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