On the wind power input to the ocean general circulation

Xiaoming Zhai, Helen L. Johnson, David P. Marshall, Carl Wunsch

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64 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The wind power input to the ocean general circulation is usually calculated from the time-averaged wind products. Here, this wind power input is reexamined using available observations, focusing on the role of the synoptically varying wind. Power input to the ocean general circulation is found to increase by over 70% when 6-hourly winds are used instead of monthly winds. Much of the increase occurs in the storm-track regions of the Southern Ocean, Gulf Stream, and Kuroshio Extension. This result holds irrespective of whether the ocean surface velocity is accounted for in the wind stress calculation. Depending on the fate of the highfrequency wind power input, the power input to the ocean general circulation relevant to deep-ocean mixing may be less than previously thought. This study emphasizes the difficulty of choosing appropriate forcing for ocean-only models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1357-1365
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Oceanography
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • Atmosphere-ocean interaction
  • Forcing
  • Large-scale motions
  • Wind stress
  • Ocean models

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