A numerical study of wind forcing of eddies and jets in the California Current System
A high-resolution, multi-level, primitive equation ocean model is used to examine the response to wind forcing of an idealized flat-bottomed oceanic regime along an eastern ocean boundary. A band of steady alongshore, upwelling favorable winds, either with or without alongshore variability, is used as forcing on both an f-plane and a, -plane. In each experiment a wind-driven equatorward coastal jet and a poleward undercurrent are generated. In time the coastal jet and undercurrent become unstable and lead to the development of eddies and jets with relatively strong onshore and offshore directed flows. The alongshore variation in alongshore wind stress plays a role in determining the location of eddy generation regions. A comparison of model results with available observations shows that the time-averaged model coastal jet and undercurrent are consistent in scale and magnitude with the observed data. Although the instantaneous eddies and jets are weaker than the corresponding observed features, they have horizontal scales typical of the observed scales. The results of this study support the hypothesis that steady wind forcing is one of several possible important generation mechanisms for eddies in the California Current System.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 1989
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