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Remarkable Control of Western Boundary Currents by Eddy Killing, a Mechanical Air‐Sea Coupling Process

Abstract : Western boundary currents (WBCs) are critical to Earth's climate. In the last decade, mesoscale air‐sea interactions emerged as an important factor of WBC dynamics. Recently, coupled models including the feedback of surface oceanic currents to the atmosphere confirmed the existence of a physical process called eddy killing, which may correct long‐lasting biases in the representation of WBCs by providing an unambiguous energy sink mechanism. Using ocean‐atmosphere coupled simulations of the Gulf Stream and the Agulhas Current, we show that eddy killing reduces the eddy‐mean flow interaction (both forward and inverse cascades) and leads to more realistic solutions. Model and data fluxes are in good agreement when the same coarse grid is used for their computation, although in this case they are underestimated. We conclude that the uncoupled approach is no longer suitable for continued ocean model improvement and discuss new formulations that should better account for air‐sea interactions.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02088104
Contributor : Françoise Pinsard <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 3:35:49 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, January 13, 2021 - 11:10:04 AM

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Lionel Renault, Patrick Marchesiello, Sébastien Masson, James C. Mcwilliams. Remarkable Control of Western Boundary Currents by Eddy Killing, a Mechanical Air‐Sea Coupling Process. Geophysical Research Letters, American Geophysical Union, 2019, 46 (5), pp.2743-2751. ⟨10.1029/2018GL081211⟩. ⟨hal-02088104⟩

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