On the multiple-cell thermohaline circulation

S. N. BULGAKOV, YURI N. SKIBA

Abstract

The classic Stommel (1961) model of thermohaline circulation has predicted the existence of two modes of ocean motion for the pole-equator system. These are, one-cell thermal and one-cell saline modes. In contrast, the laboratory experiments conducted recently to duplicate this conceptual model have found three steady states in the control space of the model parameters: a two-layer thermal mode, a two-layer saline mode, and a three-layer hybrid state. A two-dimensional theoretical model is applied to investigate the multiple-cell formation. The lowest order solution is analysed using an expansion method and suggesting the aspect ratio as a small parameter. It is shown that asymmetry of vertical distribution between temperature and salinity is responsible for forming the multiple-cell thermohaline circulation.

Keywords

Thermohaline circulation; theoretical and laboratory modelling

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