Basin adjustment with topography

In a famous paper in oceanography, Anderson and Gill (1975) considered how an idealized (box-like) ocean basin responds to changes in wind forcing. The authors suggested ocean adjustment was mediated by large scale planetary (“Rossby”) waves which sweep westward from the eastern boundary, altering the vertical structure of the flow. The work had considerable impact, prompting a range of important studies thereafter.

Curiously though, the Anderson and Gill model had a flat bottom and thus missed the interaction with bathymetry. Bottom slopes and bottom roughness have a profound impact on ocean currents and probably alter the ocean adjustment process. But how this happens is unknown.

In this project, we’ll use a simplified ocean model in a closed basin to study the adjustment to changes in wind forcing with different types of bathymetry. The work will entail running a numerical model (written by the advisor and modified in 2017 by a former masters student)

and then analyzing the results. Thus the student will gain experience with numerical simulations and with ocean dynamical theory.  

Figure 1 from Anderson and Gill (1975), showing the adjustment of the ocean surface layer. The Rossby waves move from east to west. The wiggles in the west come from short Rossby waves which have reflected off the boundary.
Published Sep. 5, 2018 1:55 PM - Last modified Sep. 5, 2018 1:55 PM


Scope (credits)