Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

The objective of this study is to theoretically determine the equilibrium surface elevation distribution for the given density field in the ocean with the realistic bottom topography. It was first experimentally found, using the barotropic ocean model, that during the process of the geostrophic adjustment in the ocean with the realistic bottom topography the surface elevation rapidly adjusts to the state with the minimum potential energy in the gravity field, which is independent of the initial distribution. From this experimental finding it follows that in the more general case of the baroclinic ocean, due to the pressure compensation, the gradient of the potential energy resulting from buoyancy is minimized by the equilibrium surface elevation distribution. The finding gives a possibility to split the vertically integrated buoyancy force on compensated and non-compensated parts and to establish the relation between the equilibrium surface elevation distribution and the given density field in the ocean with the realistic bottom topography. This application of the minimum potential energy principle in the ocean is explicitly validated in a numerical model simulation in the North Atlantic.

The study was carried out for the European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Inland and Marine Waters Unit, Ispra (IT), with the support of an FP5 grant.

Additional information

Authors: DOBRICIC S, University of Hamburg (DE)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20269 EN (2002), pp.37. Euro: Free of charge
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9843 or +39 033278 9864 Fax: +39 033278 9623 E-mail: jrc-publications-office@ec.europa.eu
Record Number: 200214803 / Last updated on: 2002-06-11
Category: PUBLICATION
Original language: en
Available languages: en