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Energy transfer in the western Tropical Pacific

TitleEnergy transfer in the western Tropical Pacific
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsZedler S.E, Powell B.S, Qiu B., Rudnick D.L
Date Published2019/12
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1042-8275
Accession NumberWOS:000503495700016
Keywordscalifornia current system; countercurrent; currents; internal waves; mindanao current; mixed-layer; north equatorial current; ocean; oceanography; sea-surface; seasonal cycle; submesoscale transition; subtropical; temperature

We aim to understand the surface kinetic energy cascade across a wide range of length scales in the western tropical Pacific (WTP) and the influence of both climatic dynamics and topography using a high-resolution (2.5 km) model nested within a coarser (8 km) state-estimate model. The period of interest includes the development and realization of the 2014-2015 El Nino. The energy cascade in the WTP is similar to that of the extratropics, with simultaneous dual inverse and forward cascades of kinetic energy to larger and smaller scales, with the strongest source of energy near the local baroclinic Rossby radius. We find that topography enhances the strength of the mean surface cascades in both forward and inverse directions, altering the energy transfer in the WTP on both long timescales important for determining the mean distribution of kinetic energy across a range of length scales and short timescales relevant for dynamical prediction.

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