LIU Zhiliang, PANG Chongguang. The Rhines effect on the geographical characteristics of altimeter-observed eddies[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2017, 36(9): 10-14. doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1105-0
Citation: LIU Zhiliang, PANG Chongguang. The Rhines effect on the geographical characteristics of altimeter-observed eddies[J]. Acta Oceanologica Sinica, 2017, 36(9): 10-14. doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1105-0

The Rhines effect on the geographical characteristics of altimeter-observed eddies

doi: 10.1007/s13131-017-1105-0
  • Received Date: 2017-02-13
  • The Rhines effect may be regarded as an interaction between Rossby waves and turbulence, in which the Rossby waves may radiate away eddy energy when their frequencies are equal or larger than those of the turbulence, thereby deforming and eventually destroying the existing eddies. Through comparing eddy-scale velocity and long Rossby wave phase speed in the oceans, a generalized form of the Rhines effect is examined on the geographical characteristics of altimeter-observed eddies. The results show that the generalized Rhines effect has a much greater influence on eddy characteristics than its classical form, which only considers the simple beta effect due to the meridional gradient of planetary vorticity. The largest amount of eddies are detected in regions where eddy-scale velocity is larger than the critical Rossby-wave phase speed considering a generalized beta effect. The eddies in those regions can grow via an inverse kinetic energy cascade and have much larger amplitudes and sizes. The "eddy desert" regions outside of the tropical oceans, which have far fewer detected eddies and much weaker eddy amplitudes, lie in areas where the eddy-scale velocity is less than the critical Rossby-wave phase speed. In those regions, the generalized Rhines effect may be a possible mechanism of suppressing eddy growth.
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