Wind Effects on Flow Patterns and Net Fluxes in Density-Driven High-Latitude Channel Flow

Helga S. Huntley, Patricia Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A semianalytic two-dimensional model is used to analyze the interplay between the different forces acting on density-driven flow in high-latitude channels. In particular, the balance between wind stress, viscous forces, baroclinicity, and sea surface slope adjustments under specified flux conditions is examined. Weak winds are found not to change flow patterns appreciably, with minimal (<7%) adjustments to horizontal velocity maxima. In low-viscosity regimes, strong winds change the flow significantly, especially at the surface, by either strengthening the dual-jet pattern, established without wind, by a factor of 2–3 or initiating return flow at the surface. A nonzero flux does not result in the addition of a uniform velocity throughout the channel cross section, but modifies both along-channel and cross-channel velocities to become more symmetric, dominated by a down-channel jet centered in the domain and counter-clockwise lateral flow. We also consider formulations of the model that allow adjustments of the net flux in response to the wind. Flow patterns change, beyond uniform intensification or weakening, only for strong winds and high Ekman number. Comparisons of the model results to observational data collected in Nares Strait in the Canadian Archipelago in the summer of 2007 show rough agreement, but the model misses the upstream surface jet on the east side of the strait and propagates bathymetric effects too strongly in the vertical for this moderately high eddy viscosity. Nonetheless, the broad strokes of the observed high-latitude flow are reproduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-323
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Oceanography


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