Geoscience Letters (2020-03-01)

Impacts of ocean current–atmosphere interactions on mesoscale eddy energetics in the Kuroshio extension region

  • Xuan Shan,
  • Zhao Jing,
  • Bingrong Sun,
  • Lixin Wu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 1
pp. 1 – 8


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Abstract The surface ocean current’s imprint on the wind stress (known as the current feedback) has a significant influence on the wind power input to the ocean. In this study, we investigate the effect of the current feedback on mesoscale eddy energetics in the Kuroshio extension region using a high-resolution (9 km) coupled regional climate model. We perform three sets of simulations: one calculates the wind stress without the surface current, one includes only the mesoscale eddy’s current and another includes the entire current in the computation. In this way, the mesoscale eddy’s current feedback can be isolated and its contribution to the entire current feedback can be assessed. The simulation results show that the mesoscale eddy’s current feedback results in negative wind power input to mesoscale eddies and reduces the surface eddy kinetic energy (EKE) by ~ 20% in the Kuroshio extension region. This negative wind power is compensated primarily by the enhanced conversion from mean flow kinetic energy (MKE) and eddy potential energy (EPE) to EKE and secondarily by the reduced pressure flux divergence and horizontal dissipation. Compared to the mesoscale eddy’s current feedback, the entire current feedback has a similar impact on EKE and the wind power on mesoscale eddies, while it affects the EKE budget differently. It weakens the MKE to EKE conversion partly due to the reduced kinetic energy input to background flows by wind. Correspondingly, the negative wind power on mesoscale eddies is primarily compensated by the enhanced EPE to EKE conversion.