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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-128
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2019-128
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 14 Jan 2020

Submitted as: research article | 14 Jan 2020

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Ocean Science (OS).

Determining the dependence of the power supply to the ocean on the length and time scales of the dynamics between the meso-scale and the synoptic-scale, from satellite data

Achim Wirth Achim Wirth
  • Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, Grenoble INP, LEGI, 38000 Grenoble, France

Abstract. The input of mechanical power to the ocean due to the surface wind-stress, in regions which correspond to different regimes of ocean dynamics, is considered using data from satellites observations. Its dependence on the coarse-graining range of the atmospheric and oceanic velocity in space from 0.5° to 10° and time from  6 h to 40 days is determined. In the area of the Gulf Stream and the Kuroshio extensions the dependence of the power-input on space-time coarse-graining varies over tenfold for the coarse-graining considered. It decreases over twofold for the Gulf Stream extension and threefold for the Kuroshio extension, when the coarse-graining length-scale passes from a few degrees to 0.5° at a temporal coarse-graining scale of a few days. It increases over threefold in the Gulf Stream and the Kuroshio extensions when the coarse-graining passes from several days to 6 h at a spatial coarse graining of a few degrees. The power input is found to increase monotonically with shorter coarse-graining in time. Its variation with coarse graining in space has no definite sign. Results show that including the dynamics at scales below a few degrees reduces considerably the power input by air-sea interaction in regions of strongly non-linear ocean currents. When the ocean velocities are not considered in the shear calculation the power-input is considerably (up to threefold) increased. The dependence of the power input on coarse graining in space and time is close to being multiplicatively separable in all regions and for most of the coarse-graining domain considered.

Achim Wirth
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Short summary
The input of mechanical power to the ocean due to the surface wind-stress is considered using data from satellites observations. Its dependence on the coarse-graining scale of the atmospheric and oceanic velocity in space and time is determined. The power input is found to increase monotonically with shorter coarse-graining in time. Results show that including the dynamics at scales below a few degrees reduces considerably the power input by air-sea interaction.
The input of mechanical power to the ocean due to the surface wind-stress is considered using...
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