Geophysical Journal | 2000 volume 22 5

The nature of sea level response to wind forcing in the open ocean

© Moncef Boukthir* and Michel Crpon**, 2000

Sea level, thermocline and bottom pressure transient responses of a b - plane ocean to switch-on forcing by surface wind stress have been investigated analytically. For motions occurring long after a non-moving wind stress forcing has been switched on, sea level is primarily dominated by the baroclinic mode. Whereas, for moving wind, sea level response is rather dominated by the ocean's barotropic fluctuations. The larger the velocity of the atmospheric forcing, the stronger the barotropic character of the sea level response. Thus, any attempt to investigate the relationship between satellite altimetric data and wind must then be done with some care.

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