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Free Content Modeling the variability of the Somali Current

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The dynamics of the Somali Current system during the southwest Monsoon are investigated using a 16 level general circulation model. Solutions are found for a number of model geometries and wind-forcing patterns. The first integrations reported use a model domain exactly equivalent to that of the layer model of McCreary and Kundu allowing a direct comparison between the level and layer models. In the second set of integrations a more realistic Indian Ocean geometry is used, but still with an idealized wind forcing, while in the third, the Hellerman and Rosenstein wind stresses are used to simulate the seasonal cycle.

The main results are that the GCM does not easily produce the cold wedge observed in SST at ∼4N, although a current separation does develop there. A cold wedge can be produced but only if there is cold water quite close to the surface, the SST being sensitive to the vertical temperature profile. The cold wedge at ∼10N forms easily in all integrations. As the water flows offshore it slides beneath the surface giving rise to the impression that it corkscrews its way around the Great Whirl gyre. To the east, northeast, of the Great Whirl, a series of jet filaments develop, associated with strong vertical circulations. In broad outline the GCM and layer model of MK are similar, but the details of the eddy fields and coastal response are quite different. In no cases are there vacillations or gyre interactions comparable to those in the layer model.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1991

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  • The Journal of Marine Research, one of the oldest journals in American marine science, 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. Biological studies involving coupling between ecological and physical processes are preferred over those that report systematics. The editors strive always to serve authors and readers in the academic oceanographic community by publishing papers vital to the marine research in the long and rich tradition of the Sears Foundation for Marine Research. We welcome you to the Journal of Marine Research.
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