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Ocean Science An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-93
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2020-93
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  30 Sep 2020

30 Sep 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal OS.

On the role of domain aspect ratio in the westward intensification of wind-driven surface ocean circulation

Kaushal Gianchandani, Hezi Gildor, and Nathan Paldor Kaushal Gianchandani et al.
  • Fredy & Nadine Herrmann Institute of Earth Sciences, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Edmond J. Safra Campus – GivatRam, Jerusalem, 9190401, Israel

Abstract. The two seminal studies on westward intensification, carried out by Stommel and Munk over 70 years ago, are revisited to elucidate the role of the domain aspect ratio (i.e. meridional to zonal extents of the basin) in determining the transport of the western boundary current (WBC). We examine the general mathematical properties of the two models by transforming them to differential problems that contain only two parameters – the domain aspect ratio and the non-dimensional damping (viscous) coefficient. Explicit analytical expressions are obtained from solutions of the non-dimensional vorticity equations and verified by long-time numerical simulations of the corresponding time-dependent equations. The analytical expressions as well as the simulations, imply that in Stommel's model both the domain aspect ratio and the damping parameter contribute equally to the non-dimensional transport of the WBC. On the other hand, in Munk's model the WBC's transport varies linear with the domain aspect ratio, while the damping parameter plays a minor role only. This finding is employed to explain the weak WBC in the South Pacific.

Kaushal Gianchandani et al.

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Kaushal Gianchandani et al.

Kaushal Gianchandani et al.

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