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Dynamical Potential Energy: A New Approach to Ocean Energetics
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Meteorology .
2013 (English)In: Journal of Physical Oceanography, ISSN 0022-3670, Vol. 43, no 2, 457-476 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The concept of available potential energy is supposed to indicate which part of the potential energy is available to transform into kinetic energy. Yet it is impossible to obtain a unique definition of available potential energy for the real ocean because of nonlinearities of the equation of state, rendering its usefulness largely hypothetical. In this paper, the conservation of energy is first reformulated in terms of horizontal anomalies of density and pressure for a simplified ocean model using the Boussinesq and hydrostatic approximations. This framework introduces the concept of dynamical potential energy, defined as the horizontal anomaly of potential energy, to replace available potential energy. Modified conservation equations are derived that make it much simpler to identify oceanic power input by buoyancy and mechanical forces. Closed budgets of energy are presented for idealized circulations obtained with a general circulation model, comparing spatial patterns of power inputs generated by wind and thermal forcings. Finally, a generalization of the framework to compressible fluids is presented, opening the way to applications in atmosphere energetics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 43, no 2, 457-476 p.
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-89535DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-12-098.1ISI: 000316303600016OAI: diva2:619253


Available from: 2013-05-02 Created: 2013-04-29 Last updated: 2013-05-02Bibliographically approved

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Roquet, Fabien
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