The Effects of Western Coastal Orientation on Rossby-Wave Reflection and the Resulting Large-Scale Oceanic Circulation

by W. Lawrence Gates

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The effect of the orientation of the western shore on the structure and behavior of large-scale currents in a homogeneous wind-driven ocean of uniform depth is investigated through time-dependent numerical integrations of a primitive dynamical model. These solutions are shown to consist primarily of transient Rossby waves reflected from the western shore, whose characteristics correspond well with the results of linear inviscid theory during the earlier portion of their life cycle. The reflection of the waves' group velocity appears to determine the location of maximum current variability in the western part of the basin. The western boundary current is weakened with increasing deviation of the western coast from a north/south orientation, while the strength of the counter-current is not.

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