ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0548.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Mesoscale eddy closure; Quasi geostrophy; Mid-latitude double gyre
Online: 24 May 2021 (09:37:26 CEST)
Mesoscale eddies, the weather system of the oceans, although being on the scales of O(20-100km), have a disproportionate role in shaping the mean jets such as the separated Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean, which is on the scale of O(1000km) in the along-jet direction. With the increase in computational power, we are now able to partially resolve the eddies in basin-scale and global ocean simulations, a model resolution often referred to as mesoscale permitting. It is well known, however, that due to grid-scale numerical viscosity, mesoscale permitting simulations have less energetic eddies and consequently weaker eddy feedback onto the mean flow. In this study, we run a quasi-geostrophic model at mesoscale resolving resolution in a double gyre configuration and formulate a deterministic parametrization for the eddy rectification term of potential vorticity (PV), namely, the eddy PV flux divergence. We have moderate success in reproducing the spatial patterns and magnitude of eddy kinetic and potential energy diagnosed from the model. One novel point about our approach is that we account for non-local eddy feedbacks onto the mean flow by solving the eddy PV equation prognostically in addition to the mean flow. In return, we are able to parametrize the variability in total (mean+eddy) PV at each time step instead of solely the mean PV. A closure for the total PV is beneficial as we are able to account for both the mean state and extreme events.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0283.v2
Subject: Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Science Keywords: Ocean circulation; Geostrophic turbulence; Quasi-geostrophic flows
Online: 26 May 2021 (13:03:28 CEST)
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.