Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

A mechanism of formation of multiple zonal jets in the oceans

  • P. BERLOFF (a1) (a2), I. KAMENKOVICH (a3) and J. PEDLOSKY (a1)

Abstract

Multiple alternating zonal jets observed in the ocean are studied with an idealized quasigeostrophic model of flow in a zonal channel. The jets are maintained by the eddies generated by the imposed, supercritical background flow. The formation, nonlinear dynamics and equilibration of the jets are explained in terms of linear stability arguments and nonlinear self-interactions of the linear eigenmodes. In the proposed mechanism, energy of the background flow is released to the primary instability mode with long meridional and short zonal length scales. This mode undergoes secondary, transverse instability that sets the meridional scale of the emerging multiple zonal jets. This instability channels energy into several weakly damped zonal eigenmodes that amplify the jets. The emerging jets feed back on the instabilities through the partial meridional localization of the most unstable eigenmodes.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Email address for correspondence: pberlo.@whoi.edu

References

Hide All
Baldwin, M., Rhines, P., Huang, H.-P. & McIntyre, M. 2007 The jet-stream conundrum. Science 315, 467468.
Balk, A., Nazarenko, S. & Zakharov, V. 1990 On the nonlocal turbulence of drift type waves. Phys. Rev. Lett. A 146, 217221.
Berloff, P. 2005 On rectification of randomly forced flows. J. Mar. Res. 63, 497527.
Berloff, P., Kamenkovich, I. & Pedlosky, J. 2009 A model of multiple zonal jets in the oceans: dynamical and kinematical analysis. J. Phys. Oceanogr, submitted.
Bonfigli, G. & Kloker, M. 2005 Secondary instability of crossflow vortices: validation of the stability theory by direct numerical simulation. J. Fluid Mech. 583, 229272.
Chekhlov, A., Orszag, S., Sukoriansky, S., Galperin, B. & Staroselsky, I. 1996 The effect of small-scale forcing on large-scale structures in two-dimensional flows. Physica D 98, 321334.
Danilov, S. & Gryanik, V. 2004 Barotropic beta-plane turbulence in a regime with strong zonal jets revisited. J. Atmos. Sci. 61, 22832295.
Danilov, S. & Gurarie, D. 2004 Scaling, spectra and zonal jets in beta-plane turbulence. Phys. Fluids 16, 25922603.
Dritschel, D. & McIntyre, M. 2008 Multiple jets as PV staircases: the Phillips effect and the resilience of eddy-transport barriers. J. Atmos. Sci. 65, 855874.
Farrell, B. & Ioannou, P. 2007 Structure and spacing of jets in barotropic turbulence. J. Atmos. Sci. 64, 36523665.
Farrell, B. & Ioannou, P. 2008 Formation of jets by baroclinic turbulence. J. Atmos. Sci. 65, 33533375.
Galperin, B., Nakano, H., Huang, H. & Sukoriansky, S. 2004 The ubiquitous zonal jets in the atmospheres of giant planets and Earth's oceans. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L13303.
Haidvogel, D. & Held, I. 1980 Homogeneous quasi-geostrophic turbulence driven by a uniform temperature gradient. J. Atmos. Sci. 37, 26442660.
Herbei, R., McKeague, I. & Speer, K. 2008 Gyres and jets: inversion of tracer data for ocean circulation structure. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 38, 11801202.
Hogg, N. & Owens, B. 1999 Direct measurement of the deep circulation within the Brazil basin. Deep-Sea Res. 46, 335353.
Hristova, H., Pedlosky, J. & Spall, M. 2008 Radiating instability of a meridional boundary current. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 38, 22942307.
Huang, H.-P., Kaplan, A., Curchitser, E. & Maximenko, N. 2007 The degree of anisotropy for mid-ocean currents from satellite observations and an eddy-permitting model simulation. J. Geophys. Res. 112, C09005.
Huang, H.-P. & Robinson, W. 1998 Two-dimensional turbulence and persistent zonal jets in a global barotropic model. J. Atmos. Sci. 55, 611632.
Ivanov, L., Collins, C. & Margolina, T. 2008 System of quasi-zonal jets off California revealed from satellite altimetry. Geophys. Res. Lett. 36, L03609.
Kamenkovich, I., Berloff, P. & Pedlosky, J. 2009 Role of eddy forcing in the dynamics of zonal jets in the North Atlantic. J. Phys. Oceanogr. in press.
Kamenkovich, I. & Pedlosky, J. 1996 Radiating instability of nonzonal ocean currents. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 26, 622643.
Kaspi, I. & Flierl, G. 2007 Formation of jets by baroclinic instability on gas planet atmospheres. J. Atmos. Sci. 64, 31773194.
Kramer, W., van Buren, M., Clercx, H. & van Heijst, G. 2006 Beta-plane turbulence in a basin with no-slip boundaries. Phys. Fluids 18, 026603.
Lee, S. 1997 Maintenance of multiple jets in a baroclinic flow. J. Atmos. Sci. 54, 17261738.
Manfroi, A. & Young, W. 1999 Slow evolution of zonal jets on the beta plane. J. Atmos. Sci. 56, 784800.
Manfroi, A. & Young, W. 2002 Stability of β-plane Kolmogorov flow. Physica D 162, 208232.
Maximenko, N., Bang, B. & Sasaki, H. 2005 Observational evidence of alternating zonal jets in the world ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L12607.
Maximenko, N., Melnichenko, O., Niiler, P. & Sasaki, H. 2008 Stationary mesoscale jet-like features in the ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L08603.
McIntyre, M. 1982 How well do we understand the dynamics of stratospheric warmings? J. Meteorol. Soc. Jpn 60, 3765.
McWilliams, J. 1977 A note on a consistent quasigeostrophic model in a multiply connected domain. Dyn. Atmos. Oceans 1, 427441.
McWilliams, J. 2006 Fundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Cambridge University Press p. 249.
Nadiga, B. 2006 On zonal jets in oceans. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L10601.
Nakano, H. & Hasumi, H. 2005 A series of zonal jets embedded in the broad zonal flows in the Pacific obtained in eddy-permitting ocean general circulation models. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 35, 474488.
Ollitrault, M., Lankhorst, M., Fratantoni, D. & Richardson, P. 2006 Zonal intermediate currents in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L05605.
Orszag, S. & Patera, A. 1983 Secondary instability of wall-bounded shear flows. J. Fluid Mech. 128, 347385.
Panetta, L. 1993 Zonal jets in wide baroclinically unstable regions: persistence and scale selection. J. Atmos. Sci. 50, 20732106.
Pedlosky, J. 1975 a The amplitude of baroclinic wave triads and mesoscale motion in the ocean. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 5, 608614.
Pedlosky, J. 1975 b On secondary baroclinic instability and the meridional scale of motion in the ocean. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 5, 603607.
Pedlosky, J. 1987 Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, 2nd edn. Springer p. 710.
Phillips, N. 1956 The general circulation of the atmosphere: a numerical experiment. Quart. J. R. Meteorol. Soc. 82, 123164.
Qiu, B., Scott, R. & Chen, S. 2008 Length scales of eddy generation and nonlinear evolution of the seasonally-modulated South Pacific subtropical countercurrent. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 38, 15151528.
Rhines, P. 1975 Waves and turbulence on a beta-plane. J. Fluid Mech. 69, 417443.
Richards, K., Maximenko, N., Bryan, F. & Sasaki, H. 2006 Zonal jets in the Pacific ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett. 33, L03605.
Schlax, M. & Chelton, D. 2008 The influence of mesoscale eddies on the detection of quasi-zonal jets in the ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L24602.
Sen, A., Arbic, B., Scott, R., Holland, C., Logan, E. & Qiu, B. 2006 Persistent small-scale features in maps of the anisotropy of ocean surface velocities: implications for mixing? Eos. Trans. AGU 87 (52).
Shepherd, T. 1988 Nonlinear saturation of baroclinic instability. Part 1. The two-layer model. J. Atmos. Sci. 45, 20142025.
Sinha, B. & Richards, K. 1999 Jet structure and scaling in Southern Ocean models. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 29, 11431155.
Smith, K. 2004 A local model for planetary atmospheres forced by small-scale convection. J. Atmos. Sci. 61, 14201433.
Sokolov, S. & Rintoul, S. 2007 Multiple jets of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current south of Australia. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 37, 13941412.
Spall, M. 2000 Generation of strong mesoscale eddies by weak ocean gyres. J. Mar. Res. 58, 97116.
Starr, V. 1968 Physics of Negative Viscosity Phenomena. McGraw-Hill p. 256.
Stern, M. & Simeonov, J. 2005 The secondary instability of salt fingers. J. Fluid Mech. 533, 361380.
Sukoriansky, S., Dikovskaya, N. & Galperin, B. 2007 On the ‘arrest’ of inverse energy cascade and the Rhines scale. J. Atmos. Sci. 64, 33123327.
Theiss, J. 2004 Equatorward energy cascade, critical latitude, and the predominance of cyclonic vortices in geostrophic turbulence. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 34, 16631678.
Thompson, A. & Young, W. 2007 Baroclinic eddy heat fluxes: zonal flows and energy balance. J. Atmos. Sci. 64, 32143231.
Treguier, A. & Panetta, L. 1994 Multiple zonal jets in a quasigeostrophic model of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 24, 22632277.
Vallis, G. & Maltrud, M. 1993 Generation of mean flows and jets on a beta plane and over topography. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 23, 13461362.
Williams, G. 1978 Planetary circulations Part 1. Barotropic representation of jovian and terrestrial turbulence. J. Atmos. Sci. 35, 13991426.
MathJax
MathJax is a JavaScript display engine for mathematics. For more information see http://www.mathjax.org.

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

A mechanism of formation of multiple zonal jets in the oceans

  • P. BERLOFF (a1) (a2), I. KAMENKOVICH (a3) and J. PEDLOSKY (a1)

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.