AbstractCoupled ocean–atmosphere simulations are carried out for the Mozambique Channel, the Agulhas Current system, and the Benguela upwelling system to assess the ocean surface current feedback to the atmosphere and its impact on the Agulhas Current (AC) retroflection and leakage. Consistent with previous studies, the authors show that the current feedback slows down the oceanic mean circulation and acts as an oceanic eddy killer by modulating the energy transfer between the atmosphere and the ocean, reducing by 25% the mesoscale energy and inducing a pathway of energy transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere. The current feedback, by dampening the eddy kinetic energy (EKE), shifts westward the distribution of the AC retroflection location, reducing the presence of eastern retroflections in the simulations and improving the realism of the AC simulation. By modulating the EKE, the AC retroflection and the Good Hope jet intensity, the current feedback allows a larger AC leakage (by 21%), altering the water masses of the Benguela system. Additionally, the eddy shedding is shifted northward and the Agulhas rings propagate less far north in the Atlantic. The current–wind coupling coefficient sw is not spatially constant: a deeper marine boundary layer induces a weaker sw. Finally the results indicate that the submesoscale currents may also be weakened by the current feedback.
Journal of Physical Oceanography – American Meteorological Society
Published: Aug 19, 2017
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