The spatial and temporal variability of energy exchange in Tropical Instability Waves (TIWs) in the Atlantic Ocean were investigated. A spectral analysis was used to filter the 5-day mean results from Simple Ocean Data Assimilation (SODA) reanalysis spanning from 1958 to 2008. TIWs were filtered over periods of 15 to 60 days and between wavelengths of 4 and 20 longitude degrees. The main approach of this study was the use of bidirectionally filtered TIW time series as the perturbation fields, and the difference in these time series from the SODA total results was considered to be the basic state for energetics analysis. The main result was that the annual cycle (period of ~ 360 days) was the main source of variability of the waves, and the semi-annual cycle (period of ~ 180 days) was a secondary variation, which indicated that TIWs occurred throughout the year but with intensity that varies seasonally. In SODA, barotropic instability acts as the mechanism that feeds and extracts energy to/from TIWs at equatorial Atlantic. Baroclinic instability is the main mechanism that extracts energy from TIWs to the equatorial circulation north of the Equator. All TIW patterns of variability were observed western of ~ 10° W. The present study reveals new evidences regarding TIW variability and suggests that future investigations should include a detailed description of TIW dynamics as part of Atlantic Ocean equatorial circulation.
Ocean Dynamics – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 13, 2018
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