Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Upper-Bound General Circulation of the Ocean: a Theoretical Exposition

Version 1 : Received: 10 September 2021 / Approved: 14 September 2021 / Online: 14 September 2021 (12:32:00 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Ou, H.-W. Upper-Bound General Circulation of the Ocean: A Theoretical Exposition. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9, 1090. Ou, H.-W. Upper-Bound General Circulation of the Ocean: A Theoretical Exposition. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2021, 9, 1090.


This paper considers the general ocean circulation within the thermodynamical closure of our climate theory, which aims to deduce the generic climate state from first principles. The preceding papers of the theory have reduced planetary fluids to warm/cold masses and determined their bulk thermal properties, which provide prior constraints for the derivation of the upper-bound circulation when the potential vorticity is homogenized in moving masses. In a companion paper on the atmosphere, this upper bound is seen to reproduce the prevailing wind, forsaking therefore previous discordant explanations of the easterly trade and the polar jet stream. In this paper on the ocean, we again show that this upper bound may replicate broad features of the observed circulation, including a western-intensified subtropical gyre and a counter-rotating tropical gyre feeding the equatorial undercurrent. Together, we posit that PV homogenization may provide a unifying dynamical principle of the large-scale planetary circulation, which may be interpreted as the maximum macroscopic motion extractable by microscopic stirring --- within the confine of the thermal differentiation.


general ocean circulation; Sverdrup dynamics, potential vorticity homogenization; thermal/dynamical coupling; upper-bound circulation


Physical Sciences, Fluids and Plasmas Physics

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