Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Control and Stabilization of the Gulf Stream by Oceanic Current Interaction with the Atmosphere

Abstract : The Gulf Stream (GS) is known to have a strong influence on climate, for example, by transporting heat from the tropics to higher latitudes. Although the GS transport intensity presents a clear interannual variability, satellite observations reveal its mean path is stable. Numerical models can simulate some characteristics of the mean GS path, but persistent biases keep the GS separation and postseparation unstable and therefore unrealistic. This study investigates how the integration of ocean surface currents into the ocean–atmosphere coupling interface of numerical models impacts the GS. The authors show for the first time that the current feedback, through its eddy killing effect, stabilizes the GS separation and postseparation, resolving long-lasting biases in modeled GS path, at least for the Regional Oceanic Modeling System (ROMS). This key process should therefore be taken into account in oceanic numerical models. Using a set of oceanic and atmospheric coupled and uncoupled simulations, this study shows that the current feedback, by modulating the energy transfer from the atmosphere to the ocean, has two main effects on the ocean. On one hand, by reducing the mean surface stress and thus weakening the mean geostrophic wind work by 30%, the current feedback slows down the whole North Atlantic oceanic gyre, making the GS narrower and its transport weaker. Yet, on the other hand, the current feedback acts as an oceanic eddy killer, reducing the surface eddy kinetic energy by 27%. By inducing a surface stress curl opposite to the current vorticity, it deflects energy from the geostrophic current into the atmosphere and dampens eddies.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01498553
Contributor : Françoise Pinsard <>
Submitted on : Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 11:25:51 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, December 10, 2020 - 11:08:53 AM

Links full text

Identifiers

Citation

Lionel Renault, M. Jeroen Molemaker, Jonathan Gula, Sébastien Masson, James C. Mcwilliams. Control and Stabilization of the Gulf Stream by Oceanic Current Interaction with the Atmosphere. Journal of Physical Oceanography, American Meteorological Society, 2016, 46 (11), pp.3439 - 3453. ⟨10.1175/jpo-d-16-0115.1⟩. ⟨hal-01498553⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

260