A Framework for Parameterizing Eddy Potential Vorticity Fluxes

David P. Marshall*, James R. Maddison, Pavel S. Berloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A framework for parameterizing eddy potential vorticity fluxes is developed that is consistent with conservation of energy and momentum while retaining the symmetries of the original eddy flux. The framework involves rewriting the residual-mean eddy force, or equivalently the eddy potential vorticity flux, as the divergence of an eddy stress tensor. A norm of this tensor is bounded by the eddy energy, allowing the components of the stress tensor to be rewritten in terms of the eddy energy and nondimensional parameters describing the mean shape and orientation of the eddies. If a prognostic equation is solved for the eddy energy, the remaining unknowns are nondimensional and bounded in magnitude by unity. Moreover, these nondimensional geometric parameters have strong connections with classical stability theory. When applied to the Lady problem, it is shown that the new framework preserves the functional form of the Eady growth rate for linear instability. Moreover, in the limit in which Reynolds stresses are neglected, the framework reduces to a Gent and McWilliams type of eddy closure where the eddy diffusivity can be interpreted as the form proposed by Visbeck et al. Simulations of three-layer wind-driven gyres are used to diagnose the eddy shape and orientations in fully developed geostrophic turbulence. These fields are found to have large-scale structure that appears related to the structure of the mean flow. The eddy energy sets the magnitude of the eddy stress tensor and hence the eddy potential vorticity fluxes. Possible extensions of the framework to ensure potential vorticity is mixed on average are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-557
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Volume42
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012

Keywords

  • GYRES
  • GLOBAL OCEAN
  • PART I
  • INSTABILITY
  • QUASI-GEOSTROPHIC EDDIES
  • WIND-DRIVEN
  • TRACER TRANSPORTS
  • MEAN-FLOW INTERACTION
  • STABILITY
  • OCEAN CIRCULATION MODELS

Cite this