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A linear model of the Antarctic circumpolar current

  • A. E. Gill (a1)

Abstract

A simple frictional wind-driven model of the Antarctic circumpolar current is examined. The geometry includes what are thought to be the main features effecting the current, namely a gap corresponding to Drake Passage and a partial barrier corresponding to the South American peninsula. Solutions obtained by both numerical and analytical methods are presented. The analytic solution, valid for small values of a friction parameter, enables the total rate of transport of water by the current to be calculated as a function of the friction parameter and the wind stress distribution. The width which controls the rate of transport by the current tends to be the narrowest encountered rather than the average width as assumed in earlier zonal models. However, the current spreads out to several times this width due to frictional effects. The values of the eddy viscosity required to give a rate of transport of the observed order are about 103 cm2/s for a bottom-friction model and of the order of 108 cm2/s for a lateral friction model.

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A linear model of the Antarctic circumpolar current

  • A. E. Gill (a1)

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