Studies in Climate Dynamics for Environmental Security

A Calibrated Analytical Model for the Thermohaline and Wind-Driven Circulation in the Interior of a Subtropical Ocean

by R. C. Alexander


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A semiempirical model of the circulation immediately beneath the surface frictional layer in middle latitudes of the open ocean. The report contains sections on scaling and calibration, variation of the wind stress parameter to check the calibrated model, and variation of the vertical thermal diffusion parameter. Results are discussed in terms of heat balance components. The temperature distributions calculated are in qualitative agreement with the more detailed numerical model of Bryan and Cox. An increasingly pronounced subtropical high temperature pattern with an increasing wind stress parameter is a feature common to both models. A new result is the lack of appreciable differences in temperature distributions with or without vertical thermal diffusion. This and other results suggest that Welander's purely advective model, suitably calibrated, is a correct first approximation for the intermediate circulation. (See also RM-5594, RM-6110, RM-6210, RM-6211.)

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