Topographic Stress in Coastal Circulation Dynamics
The interaction of nonlinear shelf waves or eddies with longshore variation of topography is addressed. The dynamics are subtle and, perhaps for this reason, have been largely overlooked. Our own results are preliminary; but they point toward an unexpectedly strong influence such that, in many coastal environments, topographic stress may overwhelm other forces. The topographic stress acts to drive undercurrents in the sense of intrinsic shelf wave propagation, hence poleward on eastern boundaries. Potentially, a very important consideration is that a secondary circulation associated with this stress has the sense of upwelling on all boundaries in either hemisphere.
KeywordsEntropy Depression Torque Stratification Vorticity
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