The Bifurcation of Outflows,
FLORIDA STATE UNIV TALLAHASSEE DEPT OF OCEANOGRAPHY
Pagination or Media Count:
The behavior of resulting from channels cutting through broad continents and emptying into wedgelike oceans, or channels cutting in wedgelike continents and emptying into broad oceans, is examined. The model is nonlinear and inviscid, and the vertical structure is approximated by two layers the upper layer is active and the lower is passive. Examination of the governing equations shows that, since outflows are externally driven by gravity and mass flux, there exists an outflow length scale in the open ocean. This length scale l is given by square root of gHbfUsub 0, where b is half the emptying channel width, g the reduced gravity, H the channel depth, of the Coriolis parameter, and Usub 0 the flow speed within the channel. Solutions are constructed using this new length scale and a power series expansion. It is found that, due to the earths rotation, an outflow can be deflected toward one of the coasts or bifurcate into two branches, depending on the basin geometry. When the outflow results from a channel cutting througha broad continent and emptying into a wedgelike ocean, there are two possibilities. If the wedge opening is less than 90 deg, the outflow deflects to the right looking downstream if the wedge opening is larger than 90 deg, the outflow deflects to the left. In contrast, when the channel is cutting through a delta like continent and emptying into a broad ocean, the outflow bifurcates.
- Physical and Dynamic Oceanography
- Hydrology, Limnology and Potamology