Barotropic, wind-driven circulation in a small basin
We study the asymptotic behavior (large time) of a simple, wind-driven, barotropic ocean model, described by a nonlinear partial differential equation with two spatial dimensions. Considered as a dynamical system, this model has an infinite-dimensional phase space. After discretization, the equivalent numerical model has a phase space of finite but large dimension. We find that for a considerable range of friction, the asymptotic states are low-dimensional attractors. We describe the changes in the structure of these asymptotic attractors as a function of the eddy viscosity of the model. A variety of different types of attractor are seen, with chaotic attractors predominating at higher Reynolds numbers. As the Reynolds number is increased, we observe a slow increase in the dimension of the chaotic attractors. Using an energy analysis, we examine the nature of the instability responsible for the Hopf bifurcation that initiates the transition from asymptotically steady states to time-dependent states.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1997
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