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On theories dealing and with the interaction of ocean surface waves and ocean circulation

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Monday, 13 February 2017, 11:00

February 13, 2017.  11:00 AM. On theories dealing and with the interaction of ocean surface waves and ocean circulation.  George Mellor. Sponsored by NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dyanmics Laboratory.  More information here. 

The first derivation of the effect of surface gravity waves on ocean circulation was by Longuet Higgins and Stewart in the 1960's followed closely by the book by Phillips. The derivation began and ended with the vertically integrated equations of motion. It took forty year more before vertically dependent equations - which could be applied to three-dimensional, ocean calculations - were derived first by McWilliams and Retrepo* (1999) and then by (Mellor 2003). The two resulting equations were very different however; they have been labelled the "vortex force theory" and the "radiation stress theory". Whereas the radiation stress equations, when vertically integrated, reduce to those of Longuet Higgins and Stewart, the vortex force equations theory do not. Nevertheless, the vortex force theory has gained considerable traction in the ocean community and there are applications not only to ocean modelling per se, but also to Longmuir circulation, LES turbulence simulations and surface boundary layer theories. Two disparate theories for the same process is not useful for physical oceanography moving forward so that the talk will present arguments in favor of the radiation stress theory. * Leibovich (1980) actually derived vorticity equations in a quest to explain Langmuir circulation which were then "uncurled" by McWilliams and Retrepo for application to ocean circulation.

Location  Smagorinsky Seminar Room, NOAA GFDL, Princeton, NJ