Analysis of a General-Circulation Model .2. Distribution of Kinetic-Energy in the South-Atlantic and Kuroshio Oyashio Systems

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Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans
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Dec 15
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The energy of the model transient eddies at 37.5 m is compared with Geosat altimeter observations, for the South Atlantic Ocean and for the Kuroshio system. The model shows areas of transient motions overlapping the ones obtained from Geosat altimeter data. For the South Atlantic Ocean, the modeled eddy kinetic energy is smaller than the one observed with Geosat, by a factor of 3 for area average on the whole South Atlantic region, and by a factor of 4 for its western boundary. On the Agulhas system, transient eddy activity develops in the region where the Agulhas current retroflects. In the western South Atlantic, the modeled eddy activity is concentrated on the Confluence front; observed variability along a more extended region following the topography is not resolved in the model. For the Kuroshio region, the energy level of the modeled transient motions is comparable with Geosat observations, but the model eddy activity is more concentrated in the Kuroshio Current and not in the Kuroshio extension. The observations show the opposite. For the South Atlantic Ocean, a comparison is also done between model eddy kinetic energy (defined as including standing and transient eddy contributions) with values obtained from surface drifters. The analysis shows differences in the western boundary, and good agreement across the South Atlantic Ocean between 35-degrees-S and 45-degrees-S. In this formulation, the model mean energy level is smaller than the observed with drifters from the First GARP Global Experiment; differences might be due to an overestimation in the values obtained with the drifters.


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