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Free Content Effects of topography on the beta-drift of a baroclinic vortex

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The propagation of compact, surface-intensified vortices over a topographic slope on the beta-plane is studied in the framework of a two-layer model. A perturbation theory is derived for a circular vortex in the upper layer with the lower layer at rest as a basic state. An integral momentum balance for the upper layer is used to obtain expressions for the velocity of the vortex center assuming the flow is quasi-stationary to leading order. This approach allows the calculation of the lower-layer flow pattern as a function of the interface shape and the slope orientation. The essential part of the lower-layer flow pattern is elongated dipolar gyres generated by the cross-slope vortex drift which remains nearly the same as in the reduced-gravity approximation, although it is slightly modified when the slope is not constant. Therefore, the major effect of the lower-layer flow is an additional along-slope propagation which is proportional to the cross-slope speed and the ratio of the interface slope to the topographic slope. Both along-slope and cross-slope drift components are found to be also affected by the slope variation.

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Document Type: Regular Paper

Publication date: November 1, 2001

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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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