11.1 Secondary Circulation at Submesoscale Fronts Due to Vertical Mixing and Surface Gravity Waves

Thursday, 29 June 2017: 8:15 AM
Salon F (Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront)
James C. McWilliams, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA

Density fronts and filaments are the common submesoscale flow
structures in the oceanic surface layer. Classical atmospheric
frontogenesis theory has them arising from a large-scale horizontal
deformation flow, with an associated secondary circulation across the
primary density gradient. Boundary layer turbulence and surface
gravity waves are more pervasive influences, and they too give rise to
frontogenesis and secondary circulations through an approximate
momentum balance called turbulent thermal wind with Stokes-drift
vortex forces. The theory is explained and illustrations given.
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