Models of abyssal flow in basins separated by a mid-ocean ridge
Numerical and laboratory models have been used to study source-driven flows in a system consisting of two basins (with sloping sidewalls) separated by a mid-ocean ridge. Numerical spin-up occurs via topographically modified Kelvin waves which propagate away from the source region around the outer perimeter of the model ocean. Energy is then carried along the ridge by topographic waves and westward by planetary waves. The resulting flow eventually concentrates in strong cyclonic circulation patterns, defined by regions of closed geostrophic contours in the lower latitude portion of each basin. When the deep water source is located at the latitude of closed geostrophic contours, there is no significant flow outside the closed contours. However, when it is located further toward polar regions, strong flow is evident up to the source latitude. There is a close correspondence with the laboratory model when similarity conditions are satisfied. One notable difference was a higher level of wave and eddy activity in the laboratory, particularly near the border between closed and blocked contour regions.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 1992
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