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Free Content Energetics of wind-driven barotropic variability in the Southern Ocean

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This study addresses the energetics of the Southern Ocean, in response to high-frequency wind forcing. A constant-density, multi-layer model is forced with a band of stochastically varying wind stress. The focus is on the interplay between the surface layer and the interior circulation.

In line with previous examinations, it is concluded that the interior ocean is not directly energized by the wind work, but rather through the work done by the pressure field. The spatial and temporal characteristics of these terms differ substantially. Although the wind work may be negative in extensive regions of the World Ocean, the pressure work energizes the interior circulation almost everywhere.

For low-frequency variability, the total work done by the wind and pressure on the barotropic flow is comparable, but discrepancies may arise for high-frequency variability. A mechanism is identified through which kinetic energy can leak from the wind-driven surface layer to the barotropic flow.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-11-01

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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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