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Free Content Wind-driven barotropic gyre I: Circulation control by eddy vorticity fluxes to an enhanced removal region

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It is well known that the barotropic, wind-driven, single-gyre ocean model reaches an inertially-dominated equilibrium with unrealistic circulation strength when the explicit viscosity is reduced to realistically low values. It is shown here that the overall circulation strength can be controlled nonlocally by retaining thin regions of enhanced viscosity parameterizing the effects of increased mixing and topographic interaction near the boundaries. The control is possible even when the inertial boundary layer width is larger than the enhanced viscosity region, as eddy fluxes of vorticity from the interior transport vorticity across the mean streamlines of the inertial boundary current to the frictional region. In relatively inviscid calculations the eddies are the major means of flux across interior mean streamlines.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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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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