Multi-Eady models of surface and deep instabilities

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 1:40 PM
Glenn Flierl1, Raffaele M Ferrari1, Baylor Fox-Kemper2 and Jörn Callies1, (1)Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, United States, (2)Brown University, Providence, RI, United States
There is growing evidence that the upper ocean is host to vigorous turbulence
generated by baroclinic instabilities of lateral density fronts. We present a
QG model for studying baroclinic instabilities of a weakly stratified surface
layer coupled to a deeper layer. The general model has constant N layers,
rather than constant density, and can accommodate density jumps as well to
represent the seasonal thermocline. On the f-plane, this "stacked Eady" model
is exact; on the beta-plane, it can still be used as an approximation which,
unlike the standard layer model, allows for instabilities associated with SST
gradients. We discuss the linear instabilities and a numerical example of the
fully-developed turbulence.