Articles | Volume 17, issue 6
30 Jun 1999
30 Jun 1999

Reflection of equatorial Kelvin waves at eastern ocean boundaries Part I: hypothetical boundaries

J. Soares, I. Wainer, and N. C. Wells

Abstract. A baroclinic shallow-water model is developed to investigate the effect of the orientation of the eastern ocean boundary on the behavior of equatorial Kelvin waves. The model is formulated in a spherical polar coordinate system and includes dissipation and non-linear terms, effects which have not been previously included in analytical approaches to the problem. Both equatorial and middle latitude response are considered given the large latitudinal extent used in the model. Baroclinic equatorial Kelvin waves of intraseasonal, seasonal and annual periods are introduced into the domain as pulses of finite width. Their subsequent reflection, transmission and dissipation are investigated. It is found that dissipation is very important for the transmission of wave energy along the boundary and for reflections from the boundary. The dissipation was found to be dependent not only on the presence of the coastal Kelvin waves in the domain, but also on the period of these coastal waves. In particular the dissipation increases with wave period. It is also shown that the equatorial β-plane approximation can allow an anomalous generation of Rossby waves at higher latitudes. Nonlinearities generally have a small effect on the solutions, within the confines of this model.

Key words. Oceanography: general (equatorial oceanography; numerical modeling) · Oceanography: physical (eastern boundary currents)