Articles | Volume 18, issue 3
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 361–365, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-18-361-2011
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 18, 361–365, 2011
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-18-361-2011

Brief communication 16 Jun 2011

Brief communication | 16 Jun 2011

Brief communication "On one mechanism of low frequency variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current"

O. G. Derzho1,2 and B. de Young1 O. G. Derzho and B. de Young
  • 1Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL, A1B 3X7, Canada
  • 2Institute of Thermophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia

Abstract. In this paper we present a simple analytical model for low frequency and large scale variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The physical mechanism of the variability is related to temporal and spatial variations of the cyclonic mean flow (ACC) due to circularly propagating nonlinear barotropic Rossby wave trains. It is shown that the Rossby wave train is a fundamental mode, trapped between the major fronts in the ACC. The Rossby waves are predicted to rotate with a particular angular velocity that depends on the magnitude and width of the mean current. The spatial structure of the rotating pattern, including its zonal wave number, is defined by the specific form of the stream function-vorticity relation. The similarity between the simulated patterns and the Antarctic Circumpolar Wave (ACW) is highlighted. The model can predict the observed sequence of warm and cold patches in the ACW as well as its zonal number.