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Stacked jets in the deep equatorial Atlantic Ocean

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Eden, C., & Dengler, M. (2008). Stacked jets in the deep equatorial Atlantic Ocean. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS, 113(C4): C04003. doi:10.1029/2007JC004298.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0017-CAB9-B
Abstract
Middepth current measurements in the equatorial Atlantic are characterized by elevated levels of energy contained in zonal flows of high baroclinic mode number. These alternating zonal flows, often called equatorial stacked jets, have amplitudes up to 20 cm s-(1) and vertical wavelengths of 600 m. The jets are most pronounced in the depth range between 500 and 2500 m. Repeated direct velocity observations at 35 degrees W indicate that the jets are coherent within +/-1 degrees of the equator. Individual jets can persist for 1-2 years, but they appear and decay rather irregularly. The equatorial stacked jets are also found in realistic general circulation model simulations. The features grow in amplitude with increasing horizontal and vertical model resolution. However, even at very high model resolutions, their amplitudes are still underestimated. In all model simulations, high levels of energy related to the stacked jets are found in the vicinity of the western boundary currents (WBCs). Depth range and strength of the WBCs in different experiments are related to depth range and strength of the jets. In the interior, stacked jets are characterized by eastward wave propagation suggesting that high baroclinic mode Kelvin waves radiate energy generated in the WBC into the interior and form the stacked jets.