Collision of anticyclonic, lens-like eddies with a meridonial western boundary

L. Zavala Sansón, F. Graef, E.G. Pavia

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The collision of anticyclonic, lens-like eddies with a meridional western boundary is investigated as a function of two independent, nondimensional numbers: ß = ß0 R/f o and e = ¿/f o, where f 0 and ß0 are the Coriolis parameter and its rate of change with latitude, respectively, both evaluated at the reference latitude. R is the eddy's radius, and ¿ is its angular frequency. The numerical experiments show that in all cases there is a southward expulsion of mass proportional to both ß and e. which is estimated during the eddy-boundary interaction. The eddies are invariably deformed with the initial collision, but afterward, they reacquire a new circular shape. There is a meridional translation of the eddy along the boundary which depends exclusively on the initial ratio r = e/ß. If r > 1, the eddy goes southward, but if r <1, the eddy goes northward first and then southward. As the eddy loses mass and reacquires a new circular shape, there is a readjustment of ß and e such that ß decreases because its radius becomes smaller and e increases by energy conservation. This implies that the eddies ultimately migrate southward. A formula, derived for the meridional speed of the center of mass of the eddy is consistent with the numerical results. A physical interpretation shows that after collision a zonal force is exerted on the eddy by the wall which is balanced by a meridional migration. Nonlinearities induce a southward motion, while high ß values could produce northward motion, depending on the mass distribution along the wall.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24881-24890
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research. C, Oceans
Issue numberC11
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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