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Atmosphere-Ocean Interaction$
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Eric B. Kraus and Joost A. Businger

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780195066180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195066180.001.0001

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Atmospherically Forced Perturbations in the Oceans

Atmospherically Forced Perturbations in the Oceans

(p.238) 7 Atmospherically Forced Perturbations in the Oceans
Atmosphere-Ocean Interaction

Eric B. Kraus

Joost A. Businger

Oxford University Press

Kinetic energy flows almost exclusively downward, from the atmosphere into the ocean. The upward flux of energy is thermal, and that will be the topic of our concluding chapter. In the present chapter, we shall deal with the effects of kinetic energy inputs into the ocean. Although this requires some discussion of the different types of oceanic perturbations, our treatment of these topics is necessarily brief and incomplete. We are not concerned with details of the motion pattern in the deeper ocean or with processes involving friction and non-adiabatic mixing in the interior. These processes are essential for an understanding of ocean circulations. They are treated in general oceanographic textbooks and in many monographs that deal specifically with these subjects. Surface stress and air pressure variations produce surface wind waves along with a variety of other wave forms. Most of these waves are relatively slow, with periods that can be measured in hours, days, or even years. The amplitude of internal gravity waves in the oceans is often much larger than that of surface waves and their wavelengths tend to be in the kilometer range. The square of the amplitude-wavenumber product is usually a very small quantity. This makes first order approximations appropriate for many purposes. It justifies use of the hydrostatic approximation and of the linear equations as a basis for the following discussion. To do so, it is necessary to represent the unspecified forcing terms on the right-hand side of those equations in a linearized form. An algorithm for the inclusion of the various atmospheric inputs as a linearized boundary condition in the equations of motion for the ocean is discussed in Section 7.1. Section 7.2 describes a two-layer ocean model. Systems of this type are convenient for the conceptual consideration of atmosphere-ocean interactions, because the wind affects the ocean primarily through action upon the surface mixed-layer. Internal waves, the topic of Section 7.3, are ubiquitous both in the ocean and in the atmosphere. Essentially, sea surface gravity waves can be viewed as internal waves at the interface between two fluids of very unequal density.

Keywords:   Atlantic countercurrent, Baroclinic mode, Critical latitude, Dead-water phenomenon, Equatorial perturbations, Gulf Stream, Hurricane, Inertial oscillation, Kelvin waves, Langmuir circulations

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