The dependence of upper ocean gyres on wind and buoyancy forcing

Liu, Tongya; Ou, Hsien-Wang; Liu, Xiaohui; Qian, Yu-Kun; Chen, Dake

A series of numerical simulations with different forcing conditions are carried out, to investigate the roles played by buoyancy and wind forcing on the upper ocean gyres, and to contrast the laminar and eddying regimes. Model experiments show that the buoyancy-driven eastward geostrophic flow tends to suppress the formation of the wind-driven subpolar gyre, but the northward eddy heat transport can homogenize the subpolar water and reduce the meridional temperature gradient by about two-third, thus counteracting the buoyancy effect and saving the subpolar gyre. For the subtropical gyre, its transport is enhanced by eddy mixing, and the role of buoyancy forcing is very sensitive to the choice of diapycnal diffusivity. Our results suggest that eddy effects must be considered in the dynamics of the subpolar gyre, and vertical diffusivity should be selected carefully in simulating the basin-wide circulations.

Geographic Areas


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Geoscience Letters

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Published Here
September 22, 2023


Wind forcing, Buoyancy forcing, Eddy mixing, Double gyres, Upper-ocean circulations