Ekman ocean response to wind forcing in extratropical frontal regions

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Tuesday, 6 January 2015: 2:15 PM
224A (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Meghan F. Cronin, NOAA/PMEL, Seattle, WA; and T. Tozuka

In frontal regions, the thermal wind geostrophic shear can balance a portion of the surface wind stress, altering the classic Ekman response to wind forcing. Because the Coriolis parameter decreases to zero towards the equator, the thermal wind geostrophic shear increases towards the equator. Consequently, fronts have more of an effect on the Ekman response in tropical regions. In western boundary regions and coastal regions, however, fronts can be very strong. In this presentation, we will investigate the Ekman response in extratropical frontal regions, with a focus on the Kuroshio Extension. Implications for global heat transport will be discussed.