Studies in Climate Dynamics for Environmental Security

A Note on the Lateral Eddy Viscosity Due to Transient Rossby Waves in a Barotropic Model

by W. Lawrence Gates

Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price Price
Add to Cart Paperback22 pages $20.00 $16.00 20% Web Discount

Simulation of a wind-driven homogeneous ocean and its characteristic circulation. From time-dependent numerical solutions of the model, a negative lateral eddy viscosity is estimated in the basin interior, where flow is dominated by transient Rossby waves. These waves produce a systematic meridional convergence of eddy momentum into the latitudes of mean eastward current and are analogous to the Rossby waves in the general circulation of the atmosphere. This regime exists in spite of the formally prescribed lateral viscosity in the model's equations; the required viscous dissipation apparently occurs in the standing waves of the western boundary current system. Results suggest that a strong gradient of the effective eddy viscosity may be characteristic of an ocean with meridional boundaries. This investigation was begun as part of an effort to evaluate the effects of environmental perturbations that could be detrimental to the security and welfare of our nation. (See also RM-6110, RM-6211.)

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research memorandum series. The Research Memorandum was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1973 that represented working papers meant to report current results of RAND research to appropriate audiences.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.