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Free Content Small viscosity behavior of a homogeneous, quasi-geostrophic, ocean circulation model

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Insensitivity to turbulent closure in the wind-driven nonlinear Stommel-Munk model is addressed theoretically and numerically. The QG energy equation is used to show that, with the assumption that the maximum velocities occur at inertial length scales or smaller, a Sverdrup interior is consistent with the small Rossby number assumption only when the frictional parameters exceed critical values. For frictional parameters smaller than these values, valid solutions must decrease the energy source. This is possible for non-Sverdrup solutions since the energy source is dependent on the solution. The steady-state behavior of the model was investigated via a pseudo-arclength continuation algorithm. Dependence on the boundary layer Reynolds number, Re, was investigated by varying the eddy viscosity for fixed wind forcing. A tendency to decrease the energy source was found for solutions that are nonsymmetric about the center latitude. Antisymmetric solutions displayed the opposite behavior and diverged more quickly with increasing Re. The robustness of the results to dynamic boundary condition, symmetry and strength of wind stress, time dependence and bottom friction were tested. Some aspects of the nonsymmetric solutions appeared insensitive to Re.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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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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