Ocean Dynamics

, Volume 63, Issue 9–10, pp 1083–1092 | Cite as

Influence of the Coriolis force on the formation of a seasonal thermocline

Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on the 4th International Workshop on Modelling the Ocean in Yokohama, Japan 21–24 May 2012


Large eddy simulation (LES) reveals that the Coriolis force plays an important role in seasonal thermocline formation. In the high-latitude ocean, a seasonal thermocline is formed at a certain depth, across which the downward transports of heat and momentum are prohibited. On the other hand, in the equatorial ocean, heat and momentum continue to propagate downward to the deeper ocean without forming a well-defined thermocline. Mechanism to clarify the latitudinal difference is suggested. The depth of a seasonal thermocline h is scaled in terms of both the Ekman length scale λ and the Monin–Obukhov length scale L, as h  ≅  0.5()1/2, which is in contrast to the earlier suggestion as h ∝ L.


Seasonal thermocline Coriolis force Large eddy simulation Ocean mixed layer Upper ocean Turbulence Stratification 


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Atmospheric Sciences/Global Environmental LaboratoryYonsei UniversitySeoulKorea

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