Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 68, Issue 6, pp 971–983 | Cite as

An eddy-driven abyssal circulation in a bowl-shaped basin due to deep water formation

  • Yutaka YoshikawaEmail author
Original Article


Numerical experiments were performed to investigate the effects of eddies generated in deep water formation processes on an abyssal circulation in a closed bowl-shaped basin. Two sets of experiments were performed. One set was eddy-restricted experiments in which only a volume-driven (upwelling-driven) circulation was simulated and the other set was eddy-permitted experiments in which both a volume-driven circulation and an eddy-driven circulation were simulated. In the two layer experiment where the lower layer water is formed, a mean along-slope current is formed in the lower layer for both the eddy-restricted and eddy-permitted experiments. The direction of the current was not unique in the eddy-restricted experiment, but it was cyclonic in the eddy-permitted experiment. In the three layer experiments where water of the intermediate layer is formed, the mean along-slope current in the lowest layer is negligibly small in the eddy-restricted experiment, while it is large and cyclonic in the eddy-permitted experiment. The driving forcings of the eddy-driven circulation are quantified in terms of eddy fluxes of relative vorticity (Reynolds stress) and layer thickness (bolus velocity). These terms increase as the volume of the newly formed water increases, but they do not change greatly with the slope height. The magnitude of these terms changes with the slope width, but the sum of these terms does not vary greatly. As a result, the intensity of the eddy-driven circulation depends primarily on the volume of newly formed water. These dependences of eddy fluxes were interpreted using downgradient diffusion of potential vorticity.


Eddy-driven mean current Abyssal circulation Deep water formation PV flux Japan Sea 



The author expresses thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their comments. The author also thank Jong-Hwan Yoon for his helpful comments. Part of this study is supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (17740315).


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Copyright information

© The Oceanographic Society of Japan and Springer Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute for Applied MechanicsKyushu UniversityKasugaJapan

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