Preprint Article Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

The Seasonal Variability of the Ocean Energy Cycle From a Quasi-Geostrophic Double Gyre Ensemble

Version 1 : Received: 9 April 2021 / Approved: 12 April 2021 / Online: 12 April 2021 (12:14:33 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 25 May 2021 / Approved: 26 May 2021 / Online: 26 May 2021 (13:03:28 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Uchida, T.; Deremble, B.; Penduff, T. The Seasonal Variability of the Ocean Energy Cycle from a Quasi-Geostrophic Double Gyre Ensemble. Fluids 2021, 6, 206. Uchida, T.; Deremble, B.; Penduff, T. The Seasonal Variability of the Ocean Energy Cycle from a Quasi-Geostrophic Double Gyre Ensemble. Fluids 2021, 6, 206.

Journal reference: Fluids 2021, 6, 206
DOI: 10.3390/fluids6060206

Abstract

With the advent of submesoscale O(1km) permitting basin-scale ocean simulations, the seasonality in the mesoscale O(50km) eddies with kinetic energies peaking in summer has been commonly attributed to submesoscale eddies feeding back onto the mesoscale via an inverse energy cascade under the constraint of stratification and Earth’s rotation. In contrast, by running a 101-member, seasonally forced, three-layer quasi-geostrophic (QG) ensemble configured to represent an idealized double-gyre system of the subtropical and subpolar basin, we find that the mesoscale kinetic energy shows a seasonality consistent with the summer peak without resolving the submesoscales; by definition, a QG model only resolves small Rossby number dynamics (O(Ro)≪1) while as submesoscale dynamics are associated with O(Ro)∼1. Here, by quantifying the Lorenz cycle of the mean and eddy energy, defined as the ensemble mean and fluctuations about the mean respectively, we propose a different mechanism from the inverse energy cascade by which the stabilization and strengthening of the western-boundary current during summer due to increased stratification leads to a shedding of stronger mesoscale eddies from the separated jet. Conversely, the opposite occurs during the winter; the separated jet destablizes and results in overall lower mean and eddy kinetic energies despite the domain being more susceptible to baroclinic instability from weaker stratification.

Subject Areas

Ocean circulation; Geostrophic turbulence; Quasi-geostrophic flows

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 26 May 2021
Commenter: Takaya Uchida
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: We have quadrupled the model resolution based on a comment from the reviewer, which has strengthened our original argument with better resolved mesoscale eddies.
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