Enhanced dissipation for quasi-geostrophic motion over small-scale topography

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Abstract

The effect of a small-scale topography on large-scale, small-amplitude oceanic motion is analysed using a two-dimensional quasi-geostrophic model that includes free-surface and beta effects, Ekman friction and viscous (or turbulent) dissipation. The topography is two-dimensional and periodic; its slope is assumed to be much larger than the ratio of the ocean depth to the Earth's radius. An averaged equation of motion is derived for flows with spatial scales that are much larger than the scale of the topography and either (i) much larger than or (ii) comparable to the radius of deformation. Compared to the standard quasi-geostrophic equation, this averaged equation contains an additional dissipative term that results from the interaction between topography and dissipation. In case (i) this term simply represents an additional Ekman friction, whereas in case (ii) it is given by an integral over the history of the large-scale flow. The properties of the additional term are studied in detail. For case (i) in particular, numerical calculations are employed to analyse the dependence of the additional Ekman friction on the structure of the topography and on the strength of the original dissipation mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-122
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Volume407
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2000

Keywords

  • ROSSBY WAVES
  • EDDY VISCOSITY
  • 2-LAYER MODEL
  • LOCALIZATION
  • OCEAN
  • FLOW
  • TURBULENCE
  • DIFFUSION

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