Submesoscale Phenomena and Consequences around the Gulf Stream

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 1:55 PM
James C McWilliams, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, United States
Using the computational technique of downscaling a basin-scale,
mesoscale-resolving Atlantic circulation simulation though multiply
nested subdomains, we see a variety of submesoscale phenomena that
arise in the strong current environment of the Gulf Stream. These
include submesoscale coherent vortices that detach from bottom
boundary layers on continental and island slopes, intrusive dense
filaments near the surface, frontogenesis along the eastern/northern
walls of the Stream, streamers that detach from meander crests, comma
instabilities that develop after meander troughs, and diabatic water
mass transformations and injections into the pycnocline. The
organizing questions are what is missing in conventional
mesoscale-resolving simulations, and how might it need to be