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Rapid Spinup and Spindown of Flow along Slopes

Peterson, Henry G. and Callies, Jörn (2022) Rapid Spinup and Spindown of Flow along Slopes. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 52 (4). pp. 579-596. ISSN 0022-3670. doi:10.1175/JPO-D-21-0173.1.

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The near-bottom mixing that allows abyssal waters to upwell tilts isopycnals and spins up flow over the flanks of midocean ridges. Meso- and large-scale currents along sloping topography are subjected to a delicate balance of Ekman arrest and spindown. These two seemingly disparate oceanographic phenomena share a common theory, which is based on a one-dimensional model of rotating, stratified flow over a sloping, insulated boundary. This commonly used model, however, lacks rapid adjustment of interior flows, limiting its ability to capture the full physics of spinup and spindown of along-slope flow. Motivated by two-dimensional dynamics, the present work extends the one-dimensional model by constraining the vertically integrated cross-slope transport and allowing for a barotropic cross-slope pressure gradient. This produces a closed secondary circulation by forcing Ekman transport in the bottom boundary layer to return in the interior. The extended model can thus capture Ekman spinup and spindown physics: the interior return flow is turned by the Coriolis acceleration, leading to rapid rather than slow diffusive adjustment of the along-slope flow. This transport-constrained one-dimensional model accurately describes two-dimensional mixing-generated spinup over an idealized ridge and provides a unified framework for understanding the relative importance of Ekman arrest and spindown of flow along a slope.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemNumerical models
Peterson, Henry G.0000-0003-3491-7688
Callies, Jörn0000-0002-6815-1230
Alternate Title:Rapid Spin Up and Spin Down of Flow Along Slopes
Additional Information:© 2022 American Meteorological Society. Manuscript received 17 August 2021, in final form 3 December 2021. We thank Henri Drake, Xiaozhou Ruan, and Paola Cessi for useful discussions of this work. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments on the manuscript. Data availability statement. The numerical models for all the simulations presented here are hosted at
Subject Keywords:Abyssal circulation; Mixing; Secondary circulation
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220517-214255122
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Official Citation:Peterson, H. G., & Callies, J. (2022). Rapid Spinup and Spindown of Flow along Slopes, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 52(4), 579-596; DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-21-0173.1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114786
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 May 2022 14:09
Last Modified:20 May 2022 17:57

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