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The injection of zonal momentum by buoyancy forcing in a southern ocean model

Howard, E., McC. Hogg, A., Waterman, S. and Marshall, D. P. (2015) The injection of zonal momentum by buoyancy forcing in a southern ocean model. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45 (1). pp. 259-271. ISSN 0022-3670

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-14-0098.1


An overturning circulation, driven by prescribed buoyancy forcing, is used to set a zonal volume transport in a reentrant channel ocean model with three isopycnal layers. The channel is designed to represent the Southern Ocean such that the forced overturning resembles the lower limb of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC). The relative contributions of wind and buoyancy forcing to the zonal circulation are examined. It is found that the zonal volume transport is strongly dependent on the buoyancy forcing and that the eddy kinetic energy is primarily set by wind stress forcing. The zonal momentum budget integrated over each layer is considered in the buoyancy-forced, wind-forced, and combined forcing case. At equilibrium, sources and sinks of momentum are balanced, but the transient spinup reveals the source of momentum for the current. In the buoyancy-forced case, the forcing creates a baroclinic shear with westward flow in the lower layer, allowing topographic form stress and bottom friction to act as the initial sources of eastward momentum, with bottom friction acting over a longer time frame. In the wind-forced and combined forcing cases, the surface wind stress dominates the initial momentum budget, and the time to reach equilibration is shorter in the combined forcing simulation. These results imply that future changes in the rate of formation of Antarctic Bottom Water may alter the volume transport of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:No Reading authors. Back catalogue items
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:87534
Publisher:American Meteorological Society

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