Ocean and atmosphere storm tracks: the role of eddy vorticity forcing

Williams, R. G.; Wilson, C. ORCID:; Hughes, C. W. ORCID: 2007 Ocean and atmosphere storm tracks: the role of eddy vorticity forcing. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 37 (9). 2267-2289.

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Signatures of eddy variability and vorticity forcing are diagnosed in the atmosphere and ocean from weather center reanalysis and altimetric data broadly covering the same period, 1992-2002. In the atmosphere, there are localized regions of eddy variability referred to as storm tracks. At the entrance of the storm track the eddies grow, providing a downgradient heat flux and accelerating the mean flow eastward. At the exit and downstream of the storm track, the eddies decay and instead provide a westward acceleration. In the ocean, there are similar regions of enhanced eddy variability along the extension of mid-latitude boundary currents and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Within these regions of high eddy kinetic energy, there are more localized signals of high Eady growth rate and downgradient eddy heat fluxes. As in the atmosphere, there are localized regions in the Southern Ocean where ocean eddies provide statistically significant vorticity forcing, which acts to accelerate the mean flow eastward, provide torques to shift the jet, or decelerate the mean flow. These regions of significant eddy vorticity forcing are often associated with gaps in the topography, suggesting that the ocean jets are being locally steered by topography. The eddy forcing may also act to assist in the separation of boundary currents, although the diagnostics of this study suggest that this contribution is relatively small when compared with the advection of planetary vorticity by the time-mean flow

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: Oceans 2025 > Climate, ocean circulation and sea level
ISSN: 0022-3670
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Copyright 2007 American Meteorological Society (AMS). Permission to use figures, tables and BRIEF excerpts from this work in scientific and educational works is hereby granted provided that is determined to be "fair use" under section 107 of the US Copyright Act or that it satisfies the conditions specified in 108 of the US Copyright Act (17 USC Setion 108 as revised by P.L. 94-553) does not require the AMS's permission. Or in a searchable database, or other uses f this material, except as exempted in the above statement, requires written permission or a license from the AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy, available on the AMS website located at or from the AMS at 617-227-2425 or
NORA Subject Terms: Marine Sciences
Date made live: 14 Oct 2008 08:43 +0 (UTC)

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