TY - JOUR

T1 - Inertial gyre solutions from a primitive equation ocean model

AU - Griffa, Annalisa

AU - Chassignet, Eric P.

AU - Coles, Victoria

AU - Olson, Donald B.

PY - 1996/7

Y1 - 1996/7

N2 - A numerical exploration of inertial equilibrium states obtained with a primitive equation ocean model suggests that they can be described using statistical mechanics theory developed in the framework of quasi-geostrophy. The performance of the numerical model is first assessed with respect to the quasi-geostrophic model considering a series of experiments in the quasi-geostrophic range, in a closed basin with flat bottom and varying Rossby numbers. The results show that our model is consistent with the quasi-geostrophic model even in terms of dependence from boundary conditions and eddy viscosity values, and that the free surface contribution is negligible. As in the quasi-geostrophic experiments, a tendency toward Fofonoff flows is observed. This tendency remains in a second series of experiments performed outside the quasi-geostrophic range, namely with flows with higher Rossby numbers and with steep topography, characterized by sloping boundaries with an order one fractional change in the depth. It is only close to the boundaries that ageostrophic effects modify the flows. In conclusion, the fact that statistical mechanics theory, initially developed in the framework of quasi-geostrophy, holds for more realistic flows with steep topography supports development of subgrid scale parameterizations based on statistical mechanics theory, to be used in realistic general circulation models.

AB - A numerical exploration of inertial equilibrium states obtained with a primitive equation ocean model suggests that they can be described using statistical mechanics theory developed in the framework of quasi-geostrophy. The performance of the numerical model is first assessed with respect to the quasi-geostrophic model considering a series of experiments in the quasi-geostrophic range, in a closed basin with flat bottom and varying Rossby numbers. The results show that our model is consistent with the quasi-geostrophic model even in terms of dependence from boundary conditions and eddy viscosity values, and that the free surface contribution is negligible. As in the quasi-geostrophic experiments, a tendency toward Fofonoff flows is observed. This tendency remains in a second series of experiments performed outside the quasi-geostrophic range, namely with flows with higher Rossby numbers and with steep topography, characterized by sloping boundaries with an order one fractional change in the depth. It is only close to the boundaries that ageostrophic effects modify the flows. In conclusion, the fact that statistical mechanics theory, initially developed in the framework of quasi-geostrophy, holds for more realistic flows with steep topography supports development of subgrid scale parameterizations based on statistical mechanics theory, to be used in realistic general circulation models.

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U2 - 10.1357/0022240963213691

DO - 10.1357/0022240963213691

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:0030434661

VL - 54

SP - 653

EP - 677

JO - Journal of Marine Research

JF - Journal of Marine Research

SN - 0022-2402

IS - 4

ER -