EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Kinetic Energy Conversion in A Wind-forced Submesoscale Flow

Song Li1,2, Nuno Serra1, and Detlef Stammer1
Song Li et al.
  • 1Institut für Meereskunde, Centrum für Erdsystemforschung und Nachhaltigkeit (CEN), Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 2College of Meteorology and Oceanography, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, China

Despite recent progress in measuring the ocean eddy field with satellite missions at the mesoscale (order of 100 km), containing the major fraction of ocean kinetic energy, many questions still remain regarding the generation, conversion and dissipation mechanisms of eddy kinetic energy (Ke). In this work, we use the output from an idealized 500-m resolution ocean numerical simulation to study the conversion of Ke in the absence and presence of wind stress forcing. In contrast to the result of the unforced run, Ke increased approximately nine times in the mixed layer and considerably in the pycnocline in the forced run. Eddies and filaments were seen to re-stratify the mixed layer and wind-induced turbulence at the base of the mixed layer promoted its deepening and therefore dramatically enhanced the exchange between Ke and eddy available potential energy (Pe). The wind stress forcing additionally affected the conversion processes between Pe and mean kinetic energy (Km). The wind also excited inertial and superinertial motions throughout almost the whole water column. Although those motions played a major role in the conversion between Pe and Ke, the net effect by inertial and superinertial flows was almost null. In addition, we found an asymmetric character in kinetic energy conversion in eddies. Cyclonic and anti-cyclonic eddies showed different behaviour regarding conversion from Pe and Ke, which was positive on the high Ke part in the anti-cyclonic eddy but negative in the cyclonic eddy.

How to cite: Li, S., Serra, N., and Stammer, D.: Kinetic Energy Conversion in A Wind-forced Submesoscale Flow, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-5657,, 2020

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