Mesoscale atmosphere ocean coupling enhances the transfer of wind energy into the ocean

Byrne, D., Munnich, M., Frenger, Ivy and Gruber, N. (2016) Mesoscale atmosphere ocean coupling enhances the transfer of wind energy into the ocean Nature Communications, 7 (art. no. 11867). DOI 10.1038/ncomms11867.

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Abstract

Although it is well established that the large-scale wind drives much of the world’s ocean
circulation, the contribution of the wind energy input at mesoscales (10–200 km)
remains poorly known. Here we use regional simulations with a coupled high-resolution
atmosphere–ocean model of the South Atlantic, to show that mesoscale ocean features and,
in particular, eddies can be energized by their thermodynamic interactions with the
atmosphere. Owing to their sea-surface temperature anomalies affecting the wind field above
them, the oceanic eddies in the presence of a large-scale wind gradient provide a mesoscale
conduit for the transfer of energy into the ocean. Our simulations show that this pathway is
responsible for up to 10% of the kinetic energy of the oceanic mesoscale eddy field in the
South Atlantic. The conditions for this pathway to inject energy directly into the mesoscale
prevail over much of the Southern Ocean north of the Polar Front.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: ocean mesoscale eddies, air-sea coupling
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB2 Marine Biogeochemistry > FB2-BM Biogeochemical Modeling
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/ncomms11867
ISSN: 2041-1723
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2016 13:03
Last Modified: 11 May 2017 11:54
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/33045

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