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Rapid response of the East Australian Current to remote wind forcing: The role of barotropic-baroclinic interactions


Hill, KL and Rintoul, SR and Oke, PR and Ridgway, K, Rapid response of the East Australian Current to remote wind forcing: The role of barotropic-baroclinic interactions, Journal of Marine Research, 68, (3-4) pp. 413-431. ISSN 0022-2402 (2010) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1357/002224010794657218


The strength of the East Australian Current (EAC) is observed to vary in response to changes in basin-scale winds in the South Pacific, with a time lag of three years. First mode baroclinic Rossby waves would take 10-15 years to reach the western boundary from the center of the South Pacific, so a faster mechanism is needed to explain this link. We use an ocean general circulation model forced with idealized anomalies of wind stress curl to examine the mechanism responsible for the rapid response of the EAC. A curl perturbation in the central South Pacific produces baroclinic and barotropic Rossby waves. The barotropic waves propagate quickly to the western boundary at New Zealand (NZ), where they scatter into a coastal Kelvin wave that travels anti-cyclonically around the coast of NZ. In the Tasman Sea, the height anomaly associated with the Kelvin wave spawns first mode baroclinic waves that take about three years to propagate across the Tasman Sea to influence the EAC. The model suggests that the rapid response of the EAC to changes in wind forcing can be explained by a combination of barotropic and baroclinic Rossby waves with conversion between modes facilitated by topography.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:East Australian current
Research Division:Earth Sciences
Research Group:Oceanography
Research Field:Physical oceanography
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Marine systems and management
Objective Field:Oceanic processes (excl. in the Antarctic and Southern Ocean)
UTAS Author:Hill, KL (Ms Katrina Hill)
UTAS Author:Rintoul, SR (Dr Steve Rintoul)
ID Code:73289
Year Published:2010
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:CRC-Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems
Deposited On:2011-09-23
Last Modified:2011-09-23

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