Ocean Dynamics pp 561-628 | Cite as

The Circulation of the Southern Ocean

  • Dirk Olbers
  • Jürgen Willebrand
  • Carsten Eden


In this chapter, we discuss the circulation of the Southern Ocean, which is partly unbounded in the zonal direction around Antarctica and which is, therefore, governed by unique dynamics.We start with a description of the special features of the Southern Ocean and a discussion of the dynamics of a homogeneous, wind-driven case with and without topography. We then turn to the role of mesoscale eddies for the meridional overturning circulation of a stratified Southern Ocean and the complete dynamics of the Southern Ocean in a zonally and also in a vertically averaged framework. Based on this knowledge, we construct several simplified models of the Southern Ocean circulation, driven by wind and surface density flux.


Stream Function Southern Ocean Mesoscale Eddy Drake Passage Ekman Layer 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und MeeresforschungBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz-Institut für Meereswissenschaften IFM-GEOMARKielGermany
  3. 3.Institute of Marine ScienceUniversity HamburgHamburgGermany

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