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Mengmeng Li, Zhiliang Liu, Jianing Li, Chongguang Pang. Characteristics of oceanic mesoscale variabilities associated with the inverse kinetic energy cascade[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1814-2
Citation: Mengmeng Li, Zhiliang Liu, Jianing Li, Chongguang Pang. Characteristics of oceanic mesoscale variabilities associated with the inverse kinetic energy cascade[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica. doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1814-2

Characteristics of oceanic mesoscale variabilities associated with the inverse kinetic energy cascade

doi: 10.1007/s13131-021-1814-2
Funds:  The National Key R&D Program of China under contract Nos 2016YFC0301203 and 2019YFC1407903; the Natural Science Foundation of Hebei Province under contract No. D2019407046; the Hebei Science and Technology Project under contract No. 19273301D; the NSFC-Shangdong Province Joint Fund under contract No. U1406401.
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  • Corresponding author: Email: zhlliu3897@hevttc.edu.cn
  • Received Date: 2020-10-06
  • Accepted Date: 2021-01-09
  • Available Online: 2021-06-23
  • Oceanic geostrophic turbulence theory predicts significant inverse kinetic energy (KE) cascades at scales larger than the energy injection wavelength. However, the characteristics of the mesoscale variabilities associated with the inverse KE cascade in the real oceans have not been clear enough up to now. To further examine this problem, we analyzed the spectral characteristics of the oceanic mesoscale motions over the scales of inverse KE cascades based on high-resolution gridded altimeter data. The applicability of the quasigeostrophic (QG) turbulence theory and the surface quasigeostrophic (SQG) turbulence theory in real oceans is further explored. The results show that the sea surface height (SSH) spectral slope is linearly related to the eddy-kinetic-energy (EKE) level with a high correlation coefficient value of 0.67. The findings also suggest that the QG turbulence theory is an appropriate dynamic framework at the edge of high-EKE regions and that the SQG theory is more suitable in tropical regions and low-EKE regions at mid-high latitudes. New anisotropic characteristics of the inverse KE cascade are also provided. These results indicate that the along-track spectrum used by previous studies cannot reveal the dynamics of the mesoscale variabilities well.
  • A “red (blue)” spectrum is defined as a spectrum in which the power density decreases (increases) with the wavenumber.
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