University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series > Variability of eddy-mean flow interactions in atmospheric storm tracks and an application to the ACC.

Variability of eddy-mean flow interactions in atmospheric storm tracks and an application to the ACC.

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The paradigm of eddies growing on a given mean flow has served us well. It is however incomplete. Most perturbations grow and modify the mean flow at the same time. We propose a simplified heuristic framework to describe this interaction between eddies and mean flow. It has the mathematical form of a nonlinear relaxation oscillator. We show that the atmospheric storm tracks are remarkably well described by this framework. One of its features is that the system evolves around a state of marginal stability. This has some surprising consequences: forcing of the mean flow controls the mean eddy state (oceanographers may recognise this as “eddy saturation”), and damping of the eddies controls the mean flow. We will show some evidence for these counterintuitive ideas, including the control of the ACC strength.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey - Polar Oceans seminar series series.

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