Interpretation of coastal wind transfer functions with momentum balances derived from idealized numerical model simulations

TitleInterpretation of coastal wind transfer functions with momentum balances derived from idealized numerical model simulations
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsKim S.Y, Gopalakrishnan G, Ponte A.
JournalOcean Dynamics
Volume65
Pagination115-141
Date Published2015/01
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number1616-7341
Accession NumberWOS:000347162900009
KeywordsAnisotropic response; Anisotropic transfer function; boundary-layer; circulation; Coastal wind-current system; continental-shelf; current profiles; current variability; driven currents; ekman; function; general-circulation model; inertial oscillations; inner-shelf; Inverse model; momentum balance; northern california shelf; rotating basin; Statistical analysis; Subsurface; surface circulation
Abstract

The local wind-driven circulation off southern San Diego is addressed with two complementary statistical and dynamical frameworks based on observations and idealized numerical model simulations. The observations including surface currents from high-frequency radars, subsurface currents from a nearshore mooring, and wind records at a local wind station are analyzed with the idealized ocean model (MITgcm) simulations using realistic bottom topography and spatially uniform wind stress forcing. Statistically estimated anisotropic local wind transfer functions characterize the observed oceanic spectral response to wind stress separately in the x (east-west) and y (north-south) directions. We delineate the coastal circulation at three primary frequencies [low (sigma (L)=0.0767 cycles per day (cpd)), diurnal (sigma (D)=1 cpd), and inertial (sigma (f)=1.07 cpd) frequencies] with the momentum budget equations and transfer functions. At low frequency, the magnitudes of transfer functions are enhanced near the coast, attributed to geostrophic balance between wind-driven pressure gradients and the Coriolis force on currents. The response diminishes away from the coast, returning to the balance between frictional and Coriolis terms, as in the classic Ekman model. On the contrary, transfer functions in the near-inertial frequency band show reduced magnitudes near the coast primarily due to friction, but exhibits the enhanced seaward response as a result of the inertial resonance. The idealized model simulations forced by local wind stress can identify the influences of remote wind stress and the biases in the data-derived transfer functions.

DOI10.1007/s10236-014-0766-x
Short TitleOcean Dyn.
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