Baroclinic Instability in the Presence of Convection

(Callies, Jörn and Ferrari, Raffaele), Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 48, no. 1, pp. pages, 2018.


AbstractBaroclinic mixed-layer instabilities have recently been recognized as an important source of submesoscale energy in deep winter mixed layers. While the focus has so far been on the balanced dynamics of these instabilities, they occur in and depend on an environment shaped by atmospherically-forced small-scale turbulence. In this study, idealized numerical simulations are presented that allow the development of both baroclinic instability and convective small-scale turbulence, with simple control over the relative strength. If the convection is only weakly forced, baroclinic instability restratifies the layer and shuts off convection, as expected. With increased forcing, however, it is found that baroclinic instabilities are remarkably resilient to the presence of convection. Even if the instability is too weak to restratify the layer and shut off convection, the instability still grows in the convecting environment and generates baroclinic eddies and fronts. This suggests that despite the vigorous…

doi = 10.1175/JPO-D-17-0028.1

Download PDF


Copy/paste the below reference into a .bib file to import.