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Cross-Equatorial Flow of Grounded Abyssal Ocean Currents Open Access


Other title
Ocean Currents
Abyssal Currents
Cross-Equatorial Flow
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Kim, Alexander
Supervisor and department
Sutherland, Bruce (Physics, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Swaters, Gordon (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Dumberry, Mathieu (Physics)
Myers, Paul (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Bush, Andrew (Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Physics

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
An idealized process study is presented describing the cross-equatorial flow of grounded abyssal ocean currents in a differentially-rotating meridional channel with parabolic bottom topography. In particular we fully examine the dependence of the cross-equatorial volume flux on the underlying flow parameters including slope of the channel's walls (s), half-width of the channel (l), width and height of the abyssal current (a and H), magnitude of the rotation vector (Omega), Earth's radius (R) and reduced gravity (g'). We determined that the ratio between the width of the channel and the zonal wavelength of a narrow wave structure that is formed by the current in the equatorial region plays a crucial role in determining into which hemisphere the current flows after its interaction with the equator. It is found that some parameters (a and H) do not have any significant effect on the zonal wavelength, while variations in other parameters (s, Omega, R and g') change the zonal wavelength and, consequently, the behaviour of the abyssal current. After examining an auxiliary model of a particle in a rotating channel, we derived a combination of these parameters called the Rhines scale and the zonal wavelength is found to be linearly proportional to this scale.
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