Local kinetic energy budget of high-frequency and intermediate-frequency eddies: winter climatology and interannual variability

Journal Article

The local budget of eddy kinetic energy (EKE) for both high-frequency (HF, 2-6 days) and intermediate-frequency (IF, 7-29 days) eddies are evaluated for Northern Hemisphere boreal winter using the 31-year (1979/80-2010/11) NCEP-DOE reanalysis. A new form of EKE equation is used to isolate the kinetic energy generation/destruction due to interactions among eddies of different timescales. The main source of HF EKE is baroclinic conversion that is concentrated in the mid-lower troposphere. Barotropic conversion mainly damps HF EKE and shows positive contributions to IF EKE on the northern flank of the winter-mean tropospheric jet. Interaction between HF and IF eddies acts as a sink for HF EKE and a main source for IF EKE, especially over the eastern ocean basins, confirming the substantial role of synoptic-scale transients in the development of IF phenomena such as atmospheric blocking. Large interannual variability is found for various EKE budget terms. The HF EKE response to El Niño is characterized by a dipole (tri-pole) anomaly over the North Pacific (North Atlantic). Baroclinic conversion is the main driver of the observed changes in HF EKE while barotropic conversion, interaction between HF and IF eddies, and energy flux convergence all play non-negligible roles in determining the final meridional structure of the HF EKE anomalies. Associated with El Niño, IF EKE generally decreases over the North Pacific and increases over the North Atlantic, which mainly result from changes in baroclinic conversion and EKE conversion due to eddy-eddy interactions. The latter is dominated by interaction between IF and LF (low-frequency, 30-90 days) eddies over the North Pacific, and by interactions between HF and IF eddies, and between IF and LF eddies over the North Atlantic. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Jiang, T; Deng, Y; Li, W

Published Date

  • 2013

Published In

Start / End Page

  • 1 - 16

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0930-7575

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s00382-013-1684-1