Importance of Coupling between Dynamic and Thermodynamic Processes at the Sea Surface. The Large-Scale, Oceanic Point of View,
FLORIDA STATE UNIV TALLAHASSEE GEOPHYSICAL FLUID DYNAMICS INST
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Combination of dynamic and thermodynamic processes shear stress and buoyancy flux at the sea surface can lead to important consequences that either process alone could not possibly explain. The present work focuses on the large- scale, mean ocean circulation at mid-latitudes. After new developments are brought to the classical thermocline theory, it is shown how the wind driven and buoyancy-induced currents can interact and combine in such a way as to lead to frontal formation. The Subtropical Front of the North Pacific Ocean is then explained as a manifestion of this interaction rather than Ekman convergence. Finally, it is stressed that model sensitivity through frontogenesis requires accurate parameterizations of sea-surface processes and fine spatial resolution in global climate models.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography