Science in China Series D: Earth Sciences

, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp 2267–2275 | Cite as

Energy distributions of the large-scale horizontal currents caused by wind in the baroclinic ocean

  • Lei Zhou
  • Jiwei Tian
  • Dongxiao Wang


Ocean current data for nearly 3 months in the South China Sea (SCS), combined with the NCEP/NCAR reanalysis wind data, are analyzed. The results indicate that the wind energy enters the upper mixed layer in a wide continuous frequency band. In addition, the interaction between the low-frequency wind anomaly and the low-frequency current anomaly is the most ‘effective’ way for the energy input from the wind to the upper ocean. However, only the inertial and the near inertial energy propagate downwards through the upper mixed layer. The downward-propagating energy is distributed into the barotropic currents, the baroclinic currents and each mode of the baroclinic currents following the normal distributions. The energy change ratios between the barotropic motion to the baroclinic motion induced by the wind present a normal distribution of N (0.0242, 0.3947). The energy change ratios of the first 4 baroclinic modes to the whole baroclinic currents also follow the normal distributions. The first baroclinic mode follows N (0.2628, 0.1872), the second N (0.1979, 0.1504), the third N (0.1331, 0.1633), and the fourth N (0.0650, 0.1540), respectively.


wind anomaly ocean current anomaly energy transportation wide frequency band near-inertial frequency energy distribution 


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Copyright information

© Science in China Press 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Physical Oceanography LaboratoryOcean University of ChinaQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Environmental Dynamics, South China Sea Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesGuangdongChina

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