A numerical study of the forcing mechanisms of the Leeuwin current system
Kennedy, Richard A., Jr.
Batteen, Mary L.
Collins, Curtis A.
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To investigate the role of wind forcing, bottom topography and thermohaline gradients in the Leeuwin Current System (LCS), several experiments are conducted with a sigma coordinate primitive equation model on a beta-plane. Results show that the LCS is an anomalous eastern boundary current (EBC) that generates a coastal poleward current, an equatorward undercurrent, and highly energetic mesoscale features such as meanders and eddies. Thermohaline gradient effects were shown to be the primary mechanism in the generation of a poleward (equatorward) current (undercurrent), eddies and meanders in the LCS. Inshore of the poleward surface flow, next to the coast, wind forcing plays an important role in generating an equatorward coastal current and upwelling. Bottom topography is shown to be an important mechanism for intensifying and trapping currents near the coast, weakening subsurface currents and intensifying eddies off capes. Overall, the results of the study compare well with available observations in the LCS.
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