Further Examples of Stationary Planetary Flow Patterns in Bounded Basins

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Faller, Alan J. (2011)

Laboratory experiments which supplement those presented by Stommel, Arons and Faller (1958) are described. Extension of the analysis to include the effects of bottom friction shows that the characteristic spreading of zonal currents, apparent in the original experiments, is due to bottom friction combined with the radial depth variation. The experiments confirm the theoretical prediction of an intense “recirculation” from the western boundary (similar to the “wind-spun vortex” of Munk, 1950) when a localized interior source or sink is present. Application of the basic concepts of the earlier paper to the geometrically more complicated case with a partial radial barrier gave good agreement between theory and experiment, but the limiting effects of bottom friction were made evident in other examples. An eastern boundary current was found to occur in a situation geometrically similar to the intrusion of Mediterranean water into the Atlantic Ocean. Simple transformations illustrate the application of the equations developed in polar coordinates to the flow of a uniform fluid on a sphere, and examples of “recirculation” and the spread of zonal flow are worked out for a barotropic ocean of uniform depth.DOI: 10.1111/j.2153-3490.1960.tb01294.x
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