Skip to main content

Free Content The skirted island: The effect of topography on the flow around planetary scale islands

Download Article:
(PDF 4986.2177734375 kb)
The flow around planetary scale islands is examined when the island possesses a topographic skirt representing a steep continental shelf. The model is barotropic and governed by the shallow water equations and the motion is driven by a wind stress with a constant curl. The presence of the strong topographic "skirt" around the island vitiates the elegant Island Rule of Godfrey and the closed potential vorticity contours around the island produced by the topography allow a geostrophic, stationary mode to resonate with an amplitude that is limited only by dissipation. In the limit of weak forcing the outline of the outermost closed potential vorticity isoline essentially replaces the island shape and determines the flow beyond that contour. Stronger nonlinearity produces substantial changes in the flow pattern as well as the transports trapped on the closed contours and the transport between the island and the basin boundary. Laboratory experiments, numerical calculations and analytical results are presented describing the structure of the flow.

A western standing meander at the edge of the island's topography involves a rapid change in the direction of flow and this feature, predicted by analytical and numerical calculations is confirmed in laboratory experiments.

As the measure of nonlinearity is increased beyond a threshold that depends on the ratio of the inertial boundary layer thickness to the Munk layer thickness the flow becomes time dependent and a strong eddy field emerges.

The transports on the closed contours and the inter-basin exchange outside the closed potential vorticity contours show an enhancement over the linear analytical approximation as nonlinearity increases.

15 References.

No Supplementary Data.
No Data/Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-07-01

More about this publication?
  • 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.
  • Editorial Board
  • Information for Authors
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more