Isopycnal averaging at constant height. Part II: relating to the residual streamfunction in eulerian space

Nurser, A.J.G.; Lee, M-M.. 2004 Isopycnal averaging at constant height. Part II: relating to the residual streamfunction in eulerian space. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 34 (12). 2740-2755.

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In Part I , the “vertical” transport streamfunction was defined as resulting from isopycnic averaging at constant height in the same way that the meridional streamfunction results from averaging at constant latitude. Part II here discusses the relationship between these two isopycnic streamfunctions and the Eulerian residual streamfunction that arises from the transformed Eulerian mean (TEM). It is known that the meridional isopycnic streamfunction can be approximated by a Taylor expansion to give an Eulerian residual streamfunction involving the horizontal eddy flux. This Taylor expansion approximation works well in the interior, removing the spurious mixing associated with the simple Eulerian-averaged streamfunction. However, it fails near the surface where isopycnals outcrop to the surface. It can be shown in a similar way that the vertical isopycnic streamfunction can formally be approximated by a residual streamfunction involving the vertical eddy flux. However, if horizontal isopycnal displacements are large, this approximation fails even in the ocean interior. Inspired by the two different residual streamfunctions, a more general form of TEM formulation is explored. It is shown that the different TEM residual streamfunctions arise from decomposing the eddy flux into a component along isopycnals, which leads to advective flow, and a remaining diffusive component, which is oriented either vertically or horizontally. In theory the diffusive flux can be oriented in any direction, although in practice the orientation should be such that neither the advective flow nor the diffusive flux cross any boundary (surface, sidewalls, and bottom). However, it is not clear how to merge the continuously changing orientation in a physically meaningful way. A variety of approaches are discussed.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 0022-3670
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Date made live: 07 Mar 2005 +0 (UTC)

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