Miller, A. J., W. R. Holland and M. C. Hendershott, 1987:
Open-ocean response and normal mode excitation in an
eddy-resolving general circulation model
Geophysical & Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics,
Analysis of a two-layer, flat-bottom, steady-wind driven, eddy-resolving general circulation model reveals a distinct separation in frequency of baroclinic and barotropic motion in the region distant from the model Gulf Stream. The far-field motions at periods less (greater) than about 100 days are predominantly barotropic (baroclinic), unlike the near-field, eddy-generating, free-jet region which contains barotropic and baroclinic energy throughout the modei frequency range. The far-field barotropic energy produces a peak in the model sea-level spectra between 25 and 50 days with a magnitude comparable to energy levels observed in spectra of sea level from oceanic island tide gauges. The far-field barotropic motion is clearly composed of large-scale, resonant, barotropic normal modes drive by mesoscale activity of the turbulent, free-jet region. Oceanic mesoscale turbulence may therefore provide for planetary normal modes an excitation mechanism distinct from atmospheric forcing. The open-ocean, barotropic, model response is very similar to that of a fluctuating-wind driven model, which suggests that atmospheric and intrinsic forcing of mid-ocean eddies may be of comparable importance.