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Interaction between a surface quasi-geostrophic buoyancy anomaly jet and internal vortices

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This paper addresses the dynamical coupling of the ocean's surface and the ocean's interior. In particular, we investigate the dynamics of an oceanic surface jet, and its interaction with vortices at depth. The jet is induced by buoyancy (density) anomalies at the surface. We first focus on the jet alone. The linear stability indicates there are two modes of instability: the sinuous and the varicose modes. When a vortex in present below the jet, it interacts with it. The velocity field induced by the vortex perturbs the jet and triggers its destabilisation. The jet also influences the vortex by pushing it under a region of co-operative shear. Strong jets may also partially shear out the vortex. We also investigate the interaction between a surface jet and a vortex dipole in the interior. Again, strong jets may partially shear out the vortex structure. The jet also modifies the trajectory of the dipole. Dipoles travelling towards the jet at shallow incidence angles may be reflected by the jet. Vortices travelling at moderate incidence angles normally cross below the jet. This is related to the displacement of the two vortices of the dipole by the shear induced by the jet. Intense jets may also destabilise early and form streets of billows. These billows can pair with the vortices and separate the dipole.


Original languageEnglish
Article number086603
Number of pages16
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number8
Early online date23 Aug 2017
StatePublished - Aug 2017

    Research areas

  • Surface quasi-geostrophy, Quasi-geostrophy, Jets, Vortex dynamics

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