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Fluids 2017, 2(1), 7; doi:10.3390/fluids2010007

Surface Quasi-Geostrophy

Laboratoire de Meteorologie Dynamique/IPSL, CNRS/Ecole Normale Superieure, 24 rue Lhomond, 75005 Paris, France
Academic Editor: Pavel S. Berloff
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 16 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Collection Geophysical Fluid Dynamics)
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Abstract

Oceanic and atmospheric dynamics are often interpreted through potential vorticity, as this quantity is conserved along the geostrophic flow. However, in addition to potential vorticity, surface buoyancy is a conserved quantity, and this also affects the dynamics. Buoyancy at the ocean surface or at the atmospheric tropopause plays the same role of an active tracer as potential vorticity does since the velocity field can be deduced from these quantities. The surface quasi-geostrophic model has been proposed to explain the dynamics associated with surface buoyancy conservation and seems appealing for both the ocean and the atmosphere. In this review, we present its main characteristics in terms of coherent structures, instabilities and turbulent cascades. Furthermore, this model is mathematically studied for the possible formation of singularities, as it presents some analogies with three-dimensional Euler equations. Finally, we discuss its relevance for the ocean and the atmosphere. View Full-Text
Keywords: geophysical fluid dynamics; turbulence; quasi-geostrophy geophysical fluid dynamics; turbulence; quasi-geostrophy
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Lapeyre, G. Surface Quasi-Geostrophy. Fluids 2017, 2, 7.

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