THE WIND-DRIVEN OCEAN ON A ROTATING BASIN,
WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION MA
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A rotating basin of water has been used by von Arx to study the effect of Coriolis force on wind-driven currents. While this model has been of immense value in the qualitative interpretation of phenomena observed in the ocean, quantitative comparison of this model with real oceans has been hampered by the lack of a mathematical analysis from which the proper scaling laws might be deduced. A satisfactory mathematical theory of a real ocean has resulted from the work of Stommel, Munk, Hidaka, and Carrier. However, the model contemplated here differs from the real ocean in at least three respects 1 the geometry is distorted, 2 the water is homogeneous in density, and 3 the dissipative forces are viscous rather than turbulent, and are therefore isotropic. The Coriolis parameter changes with distance along the surface in a different way than on the earth. As a result of the constant density, the motion of the water extends to the bottom consequently, bottom freiction, rather than lateral friction, is the important dissipative term, and variation of of the depth of the ocean has the same effect as variation of the Coriolis parameter.