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Free Content Available potential energy in the world's oceans

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It is shown that in the case with bottom topography, the available gravitational potential energy cannot be represented by the available pressure potential energy. Thus, a suitable quantity for the study of large-scale circulation is the total available potential energy which is defined as the sum of available gravitational potential energy and available internal energy.

A simple computational algorithm for calculating the available potential energy in the world's oceans is proposed and tested. This program includes the compressibility of seawater and realistic topography. It is estimated that the world's oceans available gravitational potential energy density is about 1474 J/m3 and the available internal energy density is −850 J/m3; thus, the net available potential energy density is 624 J/m3, and the total amount of available potential energy is 805 × 1018 J.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2005

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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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