Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Geodesy

pp 1-10

Date: Latest Version

Modeling Oceanic Flow: From Global Navier–Stokes to Local Geostrophic Wavelet Modeling

  • Willi FreedenAffiliated withGeomathematics Group, University of Kaiserslautern Email author 
  • , Christian GerhardsAffiliated withComputational Science Center, University of Vienna
  • , Helga NutzAffiliated withGeomathematics Group, University of Kaiserslautern


Geostrophic flow

A current in the ocean in which the Coriolis force and the pressure gradient are in balance.

Navier–Stokes equations

Differential equations which describe the motion of viscous fluid substances.

Mathematical Modeling of Ocean Flow

Ocean flow has a great influence on mass transport and heat exchange. By modeling oceanic currents, we therefore gain, for instance, a better understanding of weather and climate. In what follows, we devote our attention to the geostrophic oceanic circulation on bounded regions. In a first approximation, the oceanic surfaces under consideration may be assumed to be parts of the boundary of a spherical Earth model. We calculate the oceanic flow under the simplifying assumptions of stationarity, spherically reflected horizontal velocity, and strict neglect of inner frictions. This leads us to large-scale currents, which still give meaningful results ...

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