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Coherent dipoles in a mixed layer with variable buoyancy: Theory compared to observations

Noé Lahaye 1, 2 Vladimir Zeitlin 3, 4, * Thomas Dubos 3
* Corresponding author
1 FLUMINANCE - Fluid Flow Analysis, Description and Control from Image Sequences
IRMAR - Institut de Recherche Mathématique de Rennes, Inria Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique , INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement
Abstract : Motivated by recent observations of coherent dipolar cyclone-anticyclone structures in the ocean, the modons, and their signature in the surface temperature field, we demonstrate that the classical modon solutions of the barotropic quasi-geostrophic equations can be generalized to include buoyancy or temperature as an active tracer. The properties of such "thermal" modons, and especially their ability to carry heat anomaly over long distances, depend on the relative sign of the associated vorticity and buoyancy anomalies. We show using numerical simulations with the thermal shallow water equations, and their quasi-geostrophic version, that the evolution of the modons is consistent with the observations.
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Noé Lahaye, Vladimir Zeitlin, Thomas Dubos. Coherent dipoles in a mixed layer with variable buoyancy: Theory compared to observations. Ocean Modelling, Elsevier, 2020, 153, pp.101673. ⟨10.1016/j.ocemod.2020.101673⟩. ⟨hal-03006503⟩

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