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Free Content The parameterization of baroclinic instability in a simple model

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Baroclinic instability of zonally forced flow in a two mode quasi-geostrophic numerical model with periodic boundary conditions is considered. Only the largest scale of the baroclinic mode is forced and the scale dependence of a diffusive parameterization of baroclinic layer thickness is determined. It is shown that the effect of baroclinic instability is a decreasing function of scale with an exponent of about half of that corresponding to the commonly used Laplace operator. We furthermore show that there is no linear relation between the time averaged amplitude of the large scale streamfunction (or quasi-geostrophic potential vorticity) and the bolus velocity.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2000

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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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