INSTABILITIES OF ZONAL EQUATORIAL CURRENTS.

Samuel Philander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations

Abstract

A two-layer model is used to study the effect of divergence on the inertial (barotropic) stability of zonal jets on a rotating sphere. Both the beta effect and divergence stabilize eastward jets, both these effects can destabilize westward jets. It is found that instabilities of the Equatorial Undercurrent are unlikely in the Indian and Atlantic oceans but may occur in the central Pacific in March and April. Currents with a given vertical shear and stability that are baroclinically unstable in mid-latitudes are shown to be stabilized as they are moved equatorward. The only zonal equatorial current that could be baroclinically unstable is the westward North Equatorial Current between 10 degree N and 20 degree N.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3725-3735
Number of pages11
JournalJ Geophys Res
Volume81
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Forestry
  • Oceanography
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Palaeontology

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