Buoyancy arrest and bottom Ekman transport. Part II : oscillating flow


Author Posting. © American Meteorological Society, 2010. This article is posted here by permission of American Meteorological Society for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Physical Oceanography 40 (2010): 636-655, doi:10.1175/2009JPO4267.1.The effects of a sloping bottom and stratification on a turbulent bottom boundary layer are investigated for cases where the interior flow oscillates monochromatically with frequency ω. At higher frequencies, or small slope Burger numbers s = αN/f (where α is the bottom slope, N is the interior buoyancy frequency, and f is the Coriolis parameter), the bottom boundary layer is well mixed and the bottom stress is nearly what it would be over a flat bottom. For lower frequencies, or larger slope Burger number, the bottom boundary layer consists of a thick, weakly stratified outer layer and a thinner, more strongly stratified inner layer. Approximate expressions are derived for the different boundary layer thicknesses as functions of s and σ = ω/f. Further, buoyancy arrest causes the amplitude of the fluctuating bottom stress to decrease with decreasing σ (the s dependence, although important, is more complicated). For typical oceanic parameters, arrest is unimportant for fluctuation periods shorter than a few days. Substantial positive (toward the right when looking toward deeper water in the Northern Hemisphere) time-mean flows develop within the well-mixed boundary layer, and negative mean flows exist in the weakly stratified outer boundary layer for lower frequencies and larger s. If the interior flow is realistically broad band in frequency, the numerical model predicts stress reduction over all frequencies because of the nonlinearity associated with a quadratic bottom stress. It appears that the present one-dimensional model is reliable only for time scales less than the advective time scale that governs interior stratification.This research was sponsored by the National Science Foundation, Physical Oceanography Program through Grant OCE 0647050

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