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On formation of multiple zonal jets in the ocean

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Multiple alternating zonal jets observed in the ocean are studied with an idealized model with imposed large-scale background flow. The jets are maintained by the mesoscale eddies with mixed barotropic-baroclinic dynamics. The eddies drive the jets by either Reynolds or form stresses, depending on the direction of the background flow. The underlying dynamical mechanism of the jet formation is illuminated with the linear stability analysis. The mechanism is non-local in space, and it involves interactions between the unstable and weakly stable linear modes.

This talk is part of the British Antarctic Survey series.

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