Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2020-37
https://doi.org/10.5194/npg-2020-37

  02 Oct 2020

02 Oct 2020

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NPG.

Evidence of a fluctuation theorem for the input of mechanical power to the ocean at the air-sea interface from satellite data

Achim Wirth1 and Bertrand Chapron2 Achim Wirth and Bertrand Chapron
  • 1Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, LEGI, 38000 Grenoble, France
  • 2LOPS, Ifremer, Plouzané, France

Abstract. The ocean dynamics is predominantly driven by the shear between the atmospheric winds and ocean currents. The ocean mostly receives energy, but it can also lose energy. Building on 24-years of global satellite observations, the input of mechanical power to the ocean is analysed. A Fluctuation Theorem (FT) holds when the logarithm of the ratio between the occurrence of positive and negative events, of a certain magnitude of the power input, is a linear function of this magnitude and the averaging period. The input of mechanical power into the ocean shows evidence of a FT, for regions within the recirculation area of the subtropical gyre, but not over extensions of Western Boundary Currents. A FT puts a strong constraint on the temporal distribution of fluctuations of power input, connects variables obtained with different length of temporal averaging and guides the temporal down- and up-scaling and constrains the occurrence of extreme events.

Achim Wirth and Bertrand Chapron

 
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Achim Wirth and Bertrand Chapron

Achim Wirth and Bertrand Chapron

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Short summary
In non-equilibrium statistical mechanics, which describes forced-dissipative systems, as air-sea interaction, there is no universal probability density function (pdf). Some such systems have recently been demonstrated to exhibit a symmetry called a fluctuation theorem (FT), which strongly constrains the shape of the pdf. Using satellite data, the mechanical power-input to the ocean by air-sea interaction is questioned to follow or not a FT. A FT is found to apply over specific ocean regions.