The response of the upper ocean to solar heating II: The wind-driven current

Woods, John D. and Strass, V. (1986) The response of the upper ocean to solar heating II: The wind-driven current Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 112 (471). pp. 29-42. DOI 10.1002/qj.49711247103.

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The current profile generated by a steady wind stress is disturbed by the diurnal variation of mixed layer depth forced by solar heating. Momentum diffused deep at night is abandoned to rotate inertially during the day when the mixed layer is shallow and then re-entrained next night when it deepens. The resulting variation of current profile has been calculated with a one-dimensional model in which power supply to turbulence determines the profile of eddy viscosity. The resulting variations of current velocity at fixed depths are so complicated that it is not surprising that current meter measurements have seldom yielded the classical Ekman solution. However, the progressive vector diagrams do exhibit an Ekman-like response (albeit with superimposed inertial disturbances) suggesting that the model might be tested by tracking drifters designed to follow the flow at fixed depths. The inertial rotation of the current in the diurnal thermocline leads to a diurnal jet, the dynamical equivalent of the nocturnal jet in the atmospheric boundary layer over land. The role of inertial currents in deepening the mixed layer is clarified, leading to proposals for improving the turbulence parametrizations used in models of the upper ocean. The model predicts that the diurnal thermocline contains two layers of persistent vigorous turbulence separated by a thicker band of patchy turbulence in otherwise laminar flow.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Meteorology
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB1 Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics > FB1-ME Maritime Meteorology
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1002/qj.49711247103
ISSN: 0035-9009
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2012 12:16
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2016 11:55

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