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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Bifurcation structure of a wind-driven shallow water model with layer-outcropping

  • Author(s): Primeau, Francois W
  • Newman, David
  • et al.

The steady state bifurcation structure of the double-gyre wind-driven ocean circulation is examined in a shallow water model where the upper layer is allowed to outcrop at the sea surface. In addition to the classical jet-up and jet-down multiple equilibria, we find a new regime in which one of the equilibrium solutions has a large outcropping region in the subpolar gyre. Time dependent simulations show that the outcropping solution equilibrates to a stable periodic orbit with a period of 8 months. Co-existing with the periodic solution is a stable steady state solution without outcropping.

A numerical scheme that has the unique advantage of being differentiable while still allowing layers to outcrop at the sea surface is used for the analysis. In contrast, standard schemes for solving layered models with outcropping are non-differentiable and have an ill-defined Jacobian making them unsuitable for solution using Newton’s method. As such, our new scheme expands the applicability of numerical bifurcation techniques to an important class of ocean models whose bifurcation structure had hitherto remained unexplored.

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