Articles | Volume 7, issue 1/2
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 7, 59–85, 2000
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-7-59-2000
Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 7, 59–85, 2000
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-7-59-2000

  30 Jun 2000

30 Jun 2000

Intergyre transport in a wind-driven, quasigeostrophic double gyre: An application of lobe dynamics

C. Coulliette1,* and S. Wiggins2 C. Coulliette and S. Wiggins
  • 1Control and Dynamical Systems and Environmental Engineering Science, 107-81, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA
  • 2Control and Dynamical Systems, 107-81, Caltech, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA
  • *This research was supported by ONR Grant No. N00014-97-1-0071.

Abstract. We study the flow obtained from a three-layer, eddy-resolving quasigeostrophic ocean circulation model subject to an applied wind stress curl. For this model we will consider transport between the northern and southern gyres separated by an eastward jet. We will focus on the use of techniques from dynamical systems theory, particularly lobe dynamics, in the forming of geometric structures that govern transport. By "govern", we mean they can be used to compute Lagrangian transport quantities, such as the flux across the jet. We will consider periodic, quasiperiodic, and chaotic velocity fields, and thus assess the effectiveness of dynamical systems techniques in flows with progressively more spatio-temporal complexity. The numerical methods necessary to implement the dynamical systems techniques and the significance of lobe dynamics as a signature of specific "events", such as rings pinching off from a meandering jet, are also discussed.

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