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Impact of waves on the ocean circulation

Abstract : The purpose of this thesis is to study the impact of waves on the ocean circulation. The wave part is separated from the mean current and both are described differently. Many aspects are investigated. In the first part, the surface drift is analyzed with a one-dimensional model, with the use of a parameterization of the mixing induced by wave breaking. It appears that the Stokes drift of the waves generally dominates the Ekman drift at the surface. This description agrees with the orders of magnitude of the observations of turbulent kinetic energy dissipation, of Eulerian currents and of Lagrangian drifts. However, many aspects of this description, the Stokes-Coriolis effect for instance, have not been validated yet by observations. One reason is that one need a data set fully Eulerian or fully Lagrangian, long enough to allow the filtering out of other processes, with simultaneous observations of waves. A second part deals with the impact of waves on the mixing, and more particularly on the mixed layer depth. The diurnal mixed layer shows much sensitivity to the sea state. A waves reanalysis is used to estimate the parameters important for this mixing, as well as their global scale distributions. Finally, the waves / mean flow separation is studied close to the surf zone, and is compared to the other descriptions of the surf zone and inner-shelf dynamics. In particular, the impact of the waves non-linearity on the Lagrangian transports is evaluated.
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Contributor : Nicolas Rascle <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 25, 2007 - 11:43:10 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 12:26:04 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, April 12, 2010 - 12:38:23 AM


  • HAL Id : tel-00182250, version 1



Nicolas Rascle. Impact of waves on the ocean circulation. Ocean, Atmosphere. Université de Bretagne occidentale - Brest, 2007. English. ⟨tel-00182250⟩



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