Western boundary currents

Shiro Imawaki, Amy S. Bower, Lisa Beal, Bo Qiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Strong, persistent currents along the western boundaries of the world's major ocean basins are called "western boundary currents" (WBCs). This chapter describes the structure and dynamics of WBCs, their roles in basin-scale circulation, regional variability, and their influence on atmosphere and climate. WBCs are largely a manifestation of wind-driven circulation; they compensate the meridional Sverdrup transport induced by the winds over the ocean interior. Some WBCs also play a role in the global thermohaline circulation, through inter-gyre and inter-basin water exchanges. After separation from the boundary, most WBCs have zonal extensions, which exhibit high eddy kinetic energy due to flow instabilities, and large surface fluxes of heat and carbon dioxide. The WBCs described here in detail are the Gulf Stream, Brazil and Malvinas Currents in the Atlantic, the Somali and Agulhas Currents in the Indian, and the Kuroshio and East Australian Current in the Pacific Ocean.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-338
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Geophysics
Volume103
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

western boundary current
Sverdrup transport
wind-driven circulation
thermohaline circulation
ocean
water exchange
surface flux
ocean basin
gyre
oceans
basin
kinetic energy
Gulf Stream
eddy
carbon dioxide
Pacific Ocean
Brazil
dioxides
atmosphere
climate

Keywords

  • Agulhas Current
  • Brazil Current
  • East Australian Current
  • Gulf Stream
  • Kuroshio
  • Recirculation
  • Subtropical gyre
  • Thermohaline circulation
  • Transport
  • Western boundary current
  • Wind-driven circulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics

Cite this

Western boundary currents. / Imawaki, Shiro; Bower, Amy S.; Beal, Lisa; Qiu, Bo.

In: International Geophysics, Vol. 103, 2013, p. 305-338.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Imawaki, Shiro ; Bower, Amy S. ; Beal, Lisa ; Qiu, Bo. / Western boundary currents. In: International Geophysics. 2013 ; Vol. 103. pp. 305-338.
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