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Frontal Evolution in Layered Models: Mixed Layer Dynamics and the Stability of Forced Fronts.
Final rept. 1 Jun 94-31 Aug 97,
WASHINGTON UNIV SEATTLE SCHOOL OF OCEANOGRAPHY
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The study of evolving unstable fronts in the ocean was the focus of this work. Several approaches have been taken. The cross-front structure in a mean sense was studied in several different ways, first with a quasi-two-dimensional model where the influence of Ekman layers on the evolving front was explored. Second, an adiabatic isopycnal model was used to explore the equilibration of a baroclinically unstable front and the net exchange of mass and fluid parcels across the mean jet both at small and finite amplitude. In addition, the quasi-geostorphic approximation was tested in this context and found to be a good predictor of flow at finite amplitude, baring an asymmetry in cross-frontal structure that appears when the Rossby number gets big. Mixed-layer models in the context of baroclinically unstable fronts were also explored, in particular the evolution of a mixed-layer front in the presence of forcing. In this case, an asymmetry appears because of the forcing. The mixed-layer model was coupled to the adiabatic model and additional application of the couple model is being explored.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE