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Evidence for the Direct Atmospheric Forcing of Mid-Ocean Eddies,
HAWAII INST OF GEOPHYSICS HONOLULU
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Evidence for the direct atmospheric forcing of oceanic synoptic-scale motions is reviewed. The evidence comes from new insights into the structure of the atmospheric forcing fields, observations of the Ekman pumping velocity, model calculations, coherence observations, and seasonal modulation. The tentative conclusion is that a substantial part of the mid-ocean eddy field is directly forced by fluctuations in the atmospheric windstress. The oceanic synoptic-scale variability might hence be viewed as consisting of a random, low-level, homogeneous background field that is atmospherically forced, and on which are superimposed well-identifiable, energetic eddies, rings, and meanders that are caused by current instabilities.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE