Chapter Seven

Dynamical processes for descriptive ocean circulation

Data files supplied for Chapter 7 exercises:

  • WOA09_decimated_Pacific.joa
  • WOA98_heavydeci_Pacific.poa
  • WOA05_decimated_Arctic.joa
  • WOA05_decimated_Atlantic.joa
  • WOA05_decimated_Indian.joa
  • WOA05_decimated_Southern.joa
  • WOA98_heavydeci_Atlantic.poa
  • WOA98_heavydeci_Indian.poa
Download: Chapter 7 Data Files


  • Map the dynamic topography of ocean regions

To accomplish this, one will:

  • Open a WOA09 data file
  • Configure map plots to display topography
  • Customize plots


  • JOA built in parameter calculator

DPO Chapter 7 Sections:

DPO JOA examples are available for the following highlighted sections:
7.1 Introduction: mechanisms
7.2 Momentum balance
7.2.1 Acceleration and advection
7.2.2 Pressure gradient force and gravitational force
7.2.3 Rotation: centrifugal and Coriolis forces
7.2.4 Viscous force or dissipation Molecular viscosity Eddy viscosity
7.2.5 Mathematical expression of momentum balance
7.3 Temperature, salinity and density evolution
7.3.1 Temperature, salinity and density equations
7.3.2 Molecular and eddy diffusivity
7.4 Mixing layers
7.4.1 Surface mixed layer
7.4.2 Bottom mixed layers
7.4.3 Internal mixing layers
7.5 Response to wind forcing
7.5.1 Inertial currents
7.5.2 Langmuir circulation
7.5.3 Ekman layers
7.5.4 Ekman transport convergence and wind stress curl
7.5.5 Observations of Ekman response and wind forcing
7.6 Geostrophic balance
7.6.1 Pressure gradient force and Coriolis force balance
7.6.2 Geopotential and dynamic height anomalies and reference level velocities
7.6.3 Dynamic topography and sea surface height maps
7.6.4 A two-layer ocean
7.7 Vorticity, potential vorticity, Rossby and Kelvin waves, and instabilities
7.7.1 Vorticity
7.7.2 Potential vorticity
7.7.3 Rossby waves
7.7.4 Rossby deformation radius and Rossby wave dispersion relation
7.7.5 Instability of geostrophic ocean currents
7.7.6 Kelvin waves
7.8 Wind-driven circulation: Sverdrup balance and western boundary currents
7.8.1 Sverdrup balance
7.8.2 Stommel’s solution: westward intensification and western boundary currents
7.8.3 Munk’s solution: western boundary currents
7.8.4 Fofonoff's solution: large-scale inertial currents
7.8.5 Wind-driven circulation in a stratified ocean
7.9 Wind-driven circulation: eastern boundary currents and equatorial circulation
7.9.1 Coastal upwelling and eastern boundary currents
7.9.2 Near-surface equatorial currents and Bjerknes feedback
7.10 Buoyancy (thermohaline) forcing and abyssal circulation
7.10.1 Buoyancy loss processes (diapycnal downwelling)
7.10.2 Diapycnal upwelling (buoyancy gain)
7.10.3 Stommel and Arons' solution: abyssal circulation and Deep Western Boundary Currents
7.10.4 Thermohaline oscillators: Stommel's solution
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