The open ocean kinetic energy cascade is strongest in late winter and spring - Université de Bretagne Occidentale Access content directly
Journal Articles Communications Earth & Environment Year : 2023

The open ocean kinetic energy cascade is strongest in late winter and spring

Abstract

The oceanic kinetic energy cascade, the flux of kinetic energy between currents of different horizontal scales, shapes the structure of the global ocean circulation and the associated heat, salt, nutrient, and oxygen fluxes. Here, we show with a numerical ocean simulation that the surface geostrophic cascade can be estimated from satellite altimetry observations and present its regional distribution and seasonal cycle at scales of 40 to 150 km for large parts of the global ocean based on observations. The time-mean cascade is inverse (towards larger scales), strongest in large-scale current systems, and decreases with distance from these systems. In the open ocean, the inverse cascade is associated with a maximum in late winter at the smallest scales studied, which transitions to scales larger than 100 km within two to three months, consistent with the widespread absorption of mixed-layer eddies by mesoscale eddies in spring.
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hal-04360959 , version 1 (22-12-2023)

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René Schubert, Oscar Vergara, Jonathan Gula. The open ocean kinetic energy cascade is strongest in late winter and spring. Communications Earth & Environment, 2023, 4, pp.1-8. ⟨10.1038/s43247-023-01111-x⟩. ⟨hal-04360959⟩
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