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Free Content Modes of internal thermohaline variability in a single-hemispheric ocean basin

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In this study, the internal modes of variability of the thermohaline ocean circulation in an idealized single-hemispheric basin are investigated. The modes are determined systematically by performing linear stability analyses of fully three-dimensional thermohaline flows. Relevant for the large-scale low-frequency variability of the flows are two kinds of oscillatory modes. The modes in one of these classes, which have an interdecadal time scale, are truly three-dimensional phenomena and are characterized by westward propagating temperature anomalies, while modes in the other class have a centennial time scale. The latter modes are shown to persist as internal modes of variability of two-dimensional flows and are therefore related to overturning (or loop) oscillations. The physical mechanism of propagation of these centennial modes is described and the relevance of each class of internal modes is investigated through analysis of stochastically forced transient flows.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-07-01

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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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